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6 people shot dead in seaside town near Athens, Greece

Six people have been fatally shot in an attack at a seaside town near Athens, Greek police said Monday, and a state-run TV broadcaster said authorities suspected it was a gangland shooting.

A police statement said the bodies were discovered Monday evening in Artemida, about 12 miles east of Athens. It provided no further detail on the circumstances of the shooting or the identities of the victims.

State-run ERT television said police believed the shooting could be linked with a dispute between organized criminal groups. It said the victims were all men who were found dead in and beside a car and had been shot with at least one handgun.

Greek newspaper Proto Thema, which posted video purportedly showing police at the scene after the shooting, reported that the targeted vehicle had German license plates.

Proto Thema reported that 25 shell casings were found, and police were looking for a car and a motorcycle, which were allegedly used by the assailants.  

Several killings attributed to gang warfare have occurred in Greece in past months, with some news reports blaming fuel smuggling.

But the number of dead in Monday's incident is uncommonly high.

In June, a 37-year-old former convict and alleged bodyguard was gunned down outside his home in Athens'  Korydallos district alongside another man.

A year earlier, a 38-year-old petrol station owner had been killed at his establishment in the Athens suburb of Gerakas.

Kalashnikov assault rifles, a popular weapon in organised crime hits in Greece, were used in both attacks.

The petrol station owner's family later said he was targeted by "extortionists and organised crime figures" for "refusing to be part of an illegal racket."

AFP contributed to this report.

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