TIRANA, Albania – Albanian police on Sunday killed a man involved in a fight with officers at an annual event celebrating Greece's entry into the Second World War against Italy, provoking a strong reaction from Athens .
Konstantinos Kacifa, a 35-year-old bi-German-Albanian citizen, began shooting in the air in the village of Bularat, 255 km south of the capital, Tirana, police said in a statement. Then, the man fired on police cars before fleeing.
Kacifa is hidden on a nearby mountain and continued shooting at officers, authorities said. Police said that he died in the exchange of gunfire.
Kacifa was born in Bularat but recently lived in Athens. Police and prosecutors were investigating a motive for this man's actions.
The Greek Foreign Ministry reacted to his death by declaring "that it is unacceptable that the operation resulted in the death of a human person".
"We expect the Albanian authorities to fully clarify the conditions in which the aforementioned Greek citizen lost his life and immediately take the necessary steps," said a statement.
Members of the far-right Greek Golden Dawn political party protested after Kacifa's death in front of the Albanian embassy, blocking an important road in Athens. Albanian media reported that Kacifa was also a member.
The Albanian Foreign Ministry expressed regret "for the unjustifiable politicization of the event in the neighboring country".
In his statement, the Albanian police had clarified in detail that it was "a totally isolated event" and a "blatant case" of aggression against the Albanian police . He also said he assured "our neighbors that Albania is a safe and calm country for all its citizens, including those of Greek nationality".
Relations between Greece and post-communist Albania remain difficult. An agreement on the Ionian Sea, the Greek ethnic minority in Albania and Albanian immigrants in Greece remain controversial issues, causing tensions in bilateral relations.
Demetris Nellas contributed to this report from Athens.
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