Armed robber shot dead during police pursuit

One of five armed robbers that struck a post office and a branch of Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) in Molos, Fthiotida was shot dead by police on Friday morning. The man was fatally injured in an exchange of fire at a police roadblock and died before he reached hospital.

Police were lying in wait for the Volvo S40 carrying the five Albanians on an access road alongside the 87th kilometre of the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway, heading toward Athens. When the suspects sighted the police road block they opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles and the police officers returned fire, injuring two of the men in the car.

The five suspects had already managed to get past a police roadblock further up on the national highway near the junction of Akraifnio.

Earlier, at 9:40 a.m. on Friday, they had attacked a post office branch at Molos in Fthiotida armed with Kalashnikovs and hoods to conceal their faces, taking just over 2,000 euros. Immediately afterward, they headed for an ATEBank branch in the central square, where they were seen by several witnesses, and intercepted an armoured van as it was making a delivery of some 20,000 euro in cash, which they forced the security guards to hand over at gunpoint.

They then climbed into cars that were parked on the square and fled toward the national highway.

Police immediately launched a chase, identifying one of the cars as a Honda stolen three days earlier in Ilion, Attica. Shortly afterward, they were spotted in a Volvo S40 driving toward Athens from Kammena Vourla and police in the Atalanti region began a high-speed pursuit down the national highway.

The car's progress was tracked all through Fthiotida and police road blocks set up a various points along its path, at Akraifnio and Kastro. The suspects managed to get through the Akraifnio road block by shooting at police then left the national highway and entered an access road three kilometres before the second road block near Thiva.

Police succeed in blocking all routes ahead of them, however, and a full-scale shootout began that ended with one of the robbers fatally injured and the arrest of the remaining four, one of whom was shot in the leg. Despite efforts to get the seriously injured man to the nearest hospital in Thiva, he died before arriving.

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