Gunman injures two after factory lay-offs in Greece

Police outside the factory in Komotini where the siege was under way, 1 March
Image caption Police sealed off access to the factory

A gunman has wounded two people and is holding two hostages at a wheelie bin factory in northern Greece after losing his job, local police say.

The two people injured, said to be a factory manager and an employee, have been taken to hospital where their lives are said to be not in danger.

Police siege negotiators are trying to engage the gunman in talks at the Helesi factory in Komotini.

Helesi recently shed jobs amid the ongoing recession in Greece.

The unemployed man, who was fired from the factory eight months ago, burst into the factory with a shotgun, police were quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

His hostages are said to be both company drivers.

Police say they have surrounded the site.

'Hunting rifle'

The motive of the attack was not immediately clear.

The gunman, said to be aged 61 and the father of two children, is reportedly armed with a hunting rifle.

Pantelis Magalios, head of the local employment centre, spoke about the gunman, whom he knows: "We condemn this incident which should not have happened but the problem is that we have to think about what put the gun in this man's hand.

"What made him reach this point: unemployment, which is on the rise, and a cut in wages. These are problems we will have to continue to face."

Helesi, which stands for Hellenic Environmental Systems Industry, recently dismissed around half of its 300 employees, a police source told AFP news agency.

The company has been producing wheelie bins at Komotini since 2000, exporting them to other parts of the EU.

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