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Gunmen Ambush British Army Vehicle, 2 Wounded

April 20, 1987

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Gunmen ambushed a British army vehicle on a highway in southern Cyprus today, wounding the driver and his teen-age passenger, a military spokesman said.

Maj. John Rogers, a spokesman for the British army, said the unidentified assailants opened fire with automatic weapons on the main highway between the British army bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Rogers said the gunmen fired from inside a car.

The wounded passenger, the teen-age daughter of an army officer, was shot in the back, and the driver, a corporal, received minor injuries in the leg, Rogers said. He said neither was believed to have been seriously hurt.

British military police and Cypriot police launched a manhunt for the gunmen and set up checkpoints on main roads. Military sources said Dhekelia, Akrotiri and another army base at Episkopi were on high alert.

The attack was the first against British military personnel in Cyprus since Arab terrorists attacked the Akrotiri base on the south coast of this Mediterranean island Aug. 2. The wives of two servicemen were wounded.

The British, who ruled Cyprus until 1960, maintain some 4,000 military personnel at the three sovereign bases.

There was no indication who was behind today’s attack. A pro-Libyan faction calling itself the Unified Nasserite Organization claimed it was behind last year’s assault on Akrotiri.

An anonymous telephone caller claimed that attack was staged because Britain allowed the United States to use U.S. bombers based in Britain in last year’s air raids on Libya.

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