Four N17 defendants identified

Prosecution witnesses yesterday identified all four November 17 defendants accused of taking part in a 1991 Athens shootout with police, which was the group’s closest brush with arrest in 27 years of unchecked activity. Five policemen were injured in the November 20 gunfight in the central Athens district of Sepolia when N17 operatives escaped in a hijacked taxi after a group member was caught trying to steal a small van. Two of the officers who testified yesterday identified brothers Savvas and Christodoulos Xeros as having been present, adding that three men – one of whom was Savvas Xeros – shot at them while a fourth kept a lookout. The passenger in the taxi that the terrorists commandeered at gunpoint, ordering out passenger and driver, was unable to identify any of the suspects. But another witness said he had seen alleged N17 chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas at the steering wheel and Sotiris Kondylis shooting at a patrol car chasing the cab. The terrorists managed to escape after throwing two hand grenades at their pursuers. The trial continues today.