Greek gunman hijacks tourist bus after killing mother-in-law

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The Independent Online

A gunman has hijacked a bus transporting more than 30 Japanese tourists after killing his mother-in-law and a friend, police said. He then commandeered the bus as it drove past a village in southern Greece. None of the passengers were immediately reported to be injured.

A gunman has hijacked a bus transporting more than 30 Japanese tourists after killing his mother-in-law and a friend, police said. He then commandeered the bus as it drove past a village in southern Greece. None of the passengers were immediately reported to be injured.

The gunman, identified as Christos Kendiras, a 52-year-old metal worker from the port of Piraeus, ordered the bus to head north toward Athens from an area near the small Peloponnese port of Galata in southern Greece, authorities said.

Police would attempt to prevent it reaching the capital, and were expecting to stop the bus in Corinth. A police negotiator and a psychiatrist were on their way to speak to the gunman, authorities said.

But Kendiras apparently shot at a patrol car as it approached the bus, police reported.

In Galata before the hijacking, Kendiras shot and killed his mother-in-law, 77-year-old Georgia Spyrou, and an unidentified friend.

He then used a container of fuel to set fire to his car before stopping the passing bus. It was not immediately clear how he stopped or boarded the bus.

The reasons for the gunman's actions are not known.

According to initial reports, the gunman was reportedly distraught that his wife had left him and blamed his mother-in-law.

It was the third time in the past year and-a-half that someone has taken a busload of passengers hostage.

In July 1999, an Albanian man armed with a hand grenade held five people hostage for more than 24 hours before being overpowered by one of his captives. He was shot and killed by a police sniper.

In May of that year, another Albanian armed with a hand grenade entered Albania with his eight hostages. Albanian police stormed the bus, killing the hijacker and one captive.

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