NEWS

Captured fugitive terrorist was planning major prison hit, police says

Captured fugitive Christodoulos Xeros, convicted to six life sentences over as many murders committed by terrorist group November 17, had been planning a major attack against Koydallos Prison, the police said on Sunday.

Xeros had been at large for a year after failing to return from furlough in January 2014 and until his arrest on Saturday in Anavyssos, southeast of Athens.

A search of the home where he was staying, rented under a false identity, revealed a large cache of weapons including eight Kalashnikov assault rifles, a grenade launcher and three missiles, three handguns and bomb-making equipment. Counter-terrorism officers believe he was stockpiling the weapons for an attack on Korydallos Prison, near the Greek capital, to free jailed members of the urban guerrilla group Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire before they were transferred to a new maximum-security wing at Domokos Prison in central Greece.

After Xeros’s arrest in Anavyssos following a 10-day surveillance operation, police over the weekend were looking for two women in Aegio, in the northern Peloponnese, and Loutraki, near Corinth, who had been seen meeting with Xeros.

Investigators believe the Anavyssos property was being used as a terrorist hideout and may also be linked to a group calling itself Popular Fighters Group, which claimed responsibility for an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Athens in December. Ballistics tests on the weapons found on the property are expected to confirm whether they were used to shoot dozens of bullets at the facade of the embassy.