8 arrested in Greece for murder of rival soccer club fan

February 7, 2022 GMT

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Police in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday arrested eight people for the murder of a 19-year-old in an attack connected to soccer fan rivalry.

Authorities had issued 10 arrest warrants for people, all aged 20-23, allegedly involved in the murder of Thessaloniki resident Alkis Kambanos late last Monday. The 19-year-old died after being stabbed and severely beaten. Two of his friends were also injured in the street attack.

One of the two suspects still at large is known to have fled to neighboring Albania, where his family hails from. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Lefteris Economou said Sunday extradition procedures will be initiated.

Another suspect, a 23-year-old considered by police to be the ringleader of the group that carried the attack, was arrested earlier in the week and charged with murder and attempted murder.

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The victim was a fan of soccer club Aris, and his attackers supporters of rival club PAOK.

In the wake of the murder, police raided multiple soccer fan clubs in Thessaloniki and the capital Athens. Several weapons were confiscated. Police consider these places venues where attacks on rival club fans are organized and, often, drug sales take place.

The killing, in a city which has a heated rivalry between PAOK and Aris, has shocked the country and drew strong condemnation from political leaders.

Police say the intended victims were other Aris supporters, who frequented a nearby restaurant, but that the 11 suspects happened by chance upon Kambanos and his friends on the street and asked them which was their favorite team before attacking them.

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Demetris Nellas reported from Athens, Greece.