Police raid Nov 17 apartment

John Metz redsolidarity at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 6 12:08:48 MDT 2002


Sat Jul 6, 8:41 AM ET 
By Maria Petrakis 

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police on Saturday found a
new weapons cache in a swoop on a second hideout of
the long-sought November 17 guerrilla group blamed for
killing 23 people, including diplomats. 
Police raided a central Athens apartment block and
found rockets and other weapons, a police spokesman
said, in the latest breakthrough in tracking down the
radical leftist group which has eluded capture since
killing the CIA ( news - web sites) station chief in
Athens in 1975. 

"Continuing the investigation to uncover terrorism in
our country, the police today discovered a new hideout
of November 17," police spokesman Lefterias Economou
told reporters. 

Officers unearthed a large number of anti-tank
rockets, handgrenades, clocks and material used for
disguises in the first floor apartment in the Athens
suburb of Pangrati, he said. 

Police on Wednesday announced they had uncovered the
group's main "weapons den" seizing rockets, bombs,
other weapons and documents outlining November 17's
aims. They detained a 40-year-old man suspected of
being a key operative of the group. 

Authorities have questioned dozens of friends and
relatives of suspect Savas Xyros, who has been in
custody since a botched bomb blast at Athens' sister
port of Piraeus a week ago. 

Saturday's raid, which brought traffic in central
Athens to a standstill, was announced just hours after
police were able to quiz the badly-injured Xyros for
the first time. 

An icon painter and son of a priest, Xyros was
arrested and taken to hospital after a bomb he was
allegedly planting exploded prematurely. 

Police have said findings at the Athens flat Xyros
rented about eight years ago, indicated he could be
the first member of November 17 to be seized. 


In the latest raid, police cordoned off the commercial
center of Pangrati and stormed into the apartment
block while helicopters circled overhead and police
marksmen trained their weapons on the block from
nearby rooftoops. 

Greece's semi-official newsagency ANA reported police
finding rockets and rocket-propelled grenades stolen
from a Greek army base, hand grenades, wigs, clothing,
bomb-making material and hand made detonators. 

The guerrilla group, named after the date in 1973 of a
bloody student uprising against Greece's then military
junta, have long taunted security forces with
remote-controlled bomb blasts, rocket attacks and
drive-by assassinations. 

November 17's most recent victim was British military
attaché Stephen Saunders, gunned down in 2000. Other
targets include Turkish diplomats, Greek politicians
and industrialists. 

While authorities describe the raids as their biggest
breakthrough in hunting down November 17, some Greeks
were skeptical. A poll of 400 Athenians in the Ta Nea
newspaper on Saturday showed 53 percent believed
guerrilla leaders would remain at large. 

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