Greek hunters killed by lone gunman

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The Independent Online

Police investigating Greece's worst murder case in recent years have said they believe a lone gunman killed the five hunters shot dead in Kalyvia, north-west of Athens.

The five victims, all from the same family, were each shot twice, once from a distance then by a second shot from close range.

The bodies were found on Saturday after one of the hunters raised the alarm by calling his father from a mobile phone but was cut off.

The father then searched the local woodland and found the victims, two brothers and three cousins with their shotguns at their side.

A ballistics team at the scene said cartridges found were all from the same gun, indicating a single gunman. It appeared the hunters had managed to return fire. Police believe they may have wounded their killer as a blood sample was found that did not match any of the victims.

The murders have shocked the rural farming community and locals have rejected suggestions that the killings were the result of a vendetta.

Authorities are said to be examining the weapons of local hunters, farmers and shepherds. They are also checking hospitals in the area for anyone admitted with gunshot wounds.

One relative, Fanis Vlachos, told AFP news agency: "We are almost certain that the boys saw something important, something illegal, and that is why the murderers silenced them forever."

The killings are unusual in Greece which has low levels of violent crime.

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