The two men, aged 29 and 41, are Greek nationals for whom Cypriot police issued European arrest warrants and an Interpol Red Notice earlier in the week.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that the two men were arrested yesterday morning in the Greek capital by the anti-terror squad. The fact that both men were wanted in connection with a quintuple murder and could be considered armed and dangerous likely influenced the decision of Greek police to use its anti-terror squad for the arrests.
Angelides told the Sunday Mail that Cypriot investigators were already on their way to Athens to coordinate with their Greek counterparts on procedures for the extradition to Cyprus of the two suspects on the basis of the European arrest warrants issued against them.
The police spokesman said the two could be brought to Cyprus in a matter of days.
According to Greek media, the Greek authorities were also conducting a search of their houses yesterday, following their arrest.
The news of their arrest comes one day after Angelides announced that police had requested the help of the Greek authorities to locate the two Greek Pontian men believed to be responsible for the murders.
Warrants for their arrest were issued on Wednesday.
According to reports, the every move of the two men was caught on pubs’ CCTV cameras, linking the two men to the crime.
The CCTV footage showed the two had been in the same area as the shoot-out – on a side street in the heart of Ayia Napa’s nightclub scene, near the popular Red Square Bar – the evening prior to the killings.
The footage also showed the executioner receive a phone call, before heading to the area where he ambushed the victims’ car.
Witnesses on the night said they saw the black BMW being followed by a man on a moped, before it reached the point where it was sprayed with bullets. With the windows open, the five men – three Cypriots aged 28, 33 and 35, and two Romanians aged 25 and 33 – stood no chance. The two state pathologists who dealt with the case said all five died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest.
Fourteen bullet shells from the same gun were found at the scene.
Other CCTV footage showed the man who pulled the trigger change his top as he started to run away from the scene of the shootings. As he fled, his cap fell off, leaving detectives with his DNA.
The DNA, in combination with the images, helped police identify the two as internationally-active criminals, said police.
Another important piece of evidence was the getaway car, which was reportedly spotted a short distance from the scene of the murders.
Four of the victims worked as security guards for 47-year-old Famagusta district businessman, Phanos Kalopsidiotis, who was arrested last Thursday along with six other people in connection with a massive brawl that took place the Monday after the killings outside a nightclub in the popular resort.
It is widely believed that the killings are connected to the war between online betting shop owners.
Police found gloves, a balaclava, bullet proof vests and a computer tower in the victims’ car boot.
Earlier in the week, Angelides said there was a “serious possibility” the Ayia Napa shoot-out was a result of rivalry between Nicosia and Ayia Napa underworld gangs over the mushrooming online casinos, though other avenues are also being investigated, he added.
By Stefanos Evripidou
Published on July 1, 2012