January 14, 2009 / 12:53 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Greek guerrillas say shot policeman in revenge

(Adds quotes from guerrilla group statement)

By Daniel Flynn and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Greece’s most militant left-wing guerrilla group said on Wednesday its shooting of a policeman last week was a response to the police killing of a teenager in December that sparked the country’s worst riots in decades. The Revolutionary Struggle urban guerrillas said in a pamphlet supplied to a weekly newspaper that they were behind the shooting of the riot policeman outside the Culture Ministry in Athens, which left the 21-year-old seriously wounded.

They also claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on a police bus in December and the foiled bombing of oil company Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDSa.L) (RDSb.L) headquarters in Athens, the newspaper said.

“Our attack against armed riot police murderers on Jan. 5 was a reply to the murder of (teenager) Alexis Grigoropoulos,” the group said in the pamphlet, according to an extract published in a statement by the Pondiki weekly newspaper.

A Pondiki reporter discovered the pamphlet, entitled “We Reply To Bullets With Bullets”, in a derelict house in Athens after an anonymous call to the newspaper giving the address.

Members of Greece’s anti-terrorist squad went to Pondiki’s offices on Wednesday to investigate. In the pamphlet, the group repeatedly pledged to pursue its armed struggle and called on Greek citizens to join it, police sources said.

December’s riots, which spread to 10 Greek cities and caused an estimated billion euros in damage and lost business in Athens alone, were fuelled by anger at government scandals and economic hardship.

About a year after the smashing of the deadly November 17 leftist urban guerrilla group in 2002, Revolutionary Struggle emerged as Greece’s most violent militant group with a series of bombings aimed at ministries and police.

Its most audacious action was a rocket propelled grenade attack against the U.S. embassy in January 2007, in which no one was injured. The group had later fallen quiet for nearly a year and police believed it to be inactive.

Police had already said ballistic evidence linked Revolutionary Struggle to the Jan. 5 shooting of the policeman. It has regularly claimed responsibility for its attacks in statements published in the Pondiki satirical weekly. (Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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