'Greek militants behind journalist's murder'

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The Independent Online

Leftist urban guerrillas shot dead a Greek reporter today, the first murder of a journalist in Greece in more than 20 years, police said.

Sokratis Giolias, 37, was killed outside his home in the Athens suburb of Ilioupoli early today, when three unknown assailants shot him several times at close range.

"The ballistic investigation showed that the guns used in the assassination today ... have been used in attacks claimed by the Rebel Sect," police said in a statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for today's attack.

Greek political parties and journalist unions expressed outrage at the killing of Giolias, who was news chief at local radio station Thema 98.9 and the father of one child.

"Somebody wanted to silence a very good investigative reporter who had stepped on a lot of toes with his stories," said Panos Sobolos, president of the Athens journalists' union.

Giolias' murder was the first killing of a journalist in Greece since the mid-1980s, when left-wing urban guerrilla group November 17 assassinated a conservative newspaper publisher.

The Rebel Sect, which has said that journalists are among its targets, opened fire last year on the headquarters of private Alter TV, without causing any injuries.

Rebel Sect is one of Greece's deadliest militant guerrilla groups. In June 2009, it claimed responsibility for the killing of a Greek anti-terrorism policeman in Athens. He was shot several times at close range.

Four people have died in attacks by leftist militant groups since the police shooting of a teenager in 2008 sparked Greece's worst riots in decades.

Another three people died in May when rioters fired a petrol bomb at an Athens bank during an anti-austerity demonstration.

Last month, a booby-trapped package exploded in the office of the Greek minister in charge of police, killing one of his closest aides.