The family of Konstantinos Katsifas, a 35-year-old ethnic Greek man said to have died in a shootout with police in Albania, said they will take legal action to get his body after authorities in the neighboring country hadn’t released it despite their request
A Greek prosecutor said a probe would be opened into the circumstances of his death in southern Albania while his family said for now they just wanted the body back so he could be buried in Greece, where he had been living as well.
Albanian police said Katsifas started firing at them while he was trying to celebrate Greece’s entry into World War II against Italy, driving Italian forces back through Albania, where many Greek soldiers died and were buried.
Katsifas also had Albanian citizenship and police said he first started shooting in the air in the village of Bularat, 255 kilometers (160 miles) south of the capital, Tirana on Oct. 28, Oxi Day in Greece, which marks the date Greece refused to surrender to Italy.
Then the man fired at approaching police cars before running away, police said, hiding on a nearby mountain and firing away before he died in an exchange of bullets.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry reacted to his death by saying “it is unacceptable that the operation resulted in the loss of a human life,” while Albania’s Foreign Ministry expressed its regrets “for the unjustifiable politicization of the event in the neighboring country.”
The statement added Albanian police clarified in detail this was a “totally isolated event” and “a flagrant case” of aggression against Albanian police. It also said that it assured “our neighbors that Albania is a safe and calm country for all its citizens, including those of Greek nationality.”