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Escaped Greek terrorist vows to fight government

By Elena Becatoros

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 20 2014 12:11 p.m. MST

In this Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 screen image, member of the Greek November 17 terrorist group Christodoulos Xiros makes an Internet statement posted Monday and purportedly written by him on Jan. 14 which rails against the Greek financial crisis. Xiros, a fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for left-wing bombings and shootings has vowed a return to armed action, in a video posted Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 on the Internet.

Thanassis Stavrakis, Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece — A Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for being in a deadly terrorist organization has vowed a return to armed action.

Christodoulos Xiros railed against the handling of Greece's financial crisis and threatened the media, the judiciary and the Greek government in an Internet post on Monday.

"I once again decided to make the guerrilla rifle thunder against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams to make a profit," Xiros said.

The posting included a video of him reading a seven-page statement, the text itself and a photo of him in front of pictures of 19th-century Greek resistance fighters and Latin American rebel Che Guevara.

His lawyer, Frangiskos Ragoussis, confirmed that the posting was genuine.

Xiros, 55, was convicted in 2003 along with two of his brothers of belonging to the November 17 organization. The group, which emerged in the mid-1970s, claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombings and shootings against foreign diplomats and Greek politicians and businessmen over nearly three decades.

Xiros vanished Jan. 7 while on a seven-day leave from prison to visit his family.

In his statement Monday, Xiros also slammed the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party and invited Greece's security forces to join with him.

He reserved particular bile for the two parties in Greece's governing coalition, the conservative New Democracy and the socialist Pasok, accusing them of treason and stating that the "price of their treason is death."

New Democracy spokeswoman Anna Asimakopoulou retorted: "Democracy has nothing to fear from the ramblings of murderers and ruthless criminals. The Greek people are united against them."

Xiros described Greece and other European countries as having become colonies under "German occupation." Germany is the single largest contributor toward international rescue loans that Greece has been relying on since 2010. In return, the country has had to impose harsh austerity measures that have led to spiraling unemployment and a plunge in living standards.

"If we ever meet again, which I don't hope (and neither should you) you will do well to kill me. Because if you take me captive again, I will leave again to fight you to the end," Xiros said.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said he would not comment on the thoughts of a terrorist but added authorities are doing what they can to return him to prison.

November 17, which mixed Marxist ideology with nationalism, killed 23 people — including British, American and Turkish diplomats and military officials — and managed to evade detection for decades before being broken up after a string of arrests in 2002.

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