Xeros arrest leads to more finds

Police on Tuesday found equipment that could be used to construct 100 bombs at a second hideout allegedly used by Christodoulos Xeros, the November 17 terrorist who was arrested on Saturday after 12 months on the run from authorities.

Sources told Kathimerini that the detonating mechanisms for 100 devices were discovered in a plastic container at the property in Loutraki, west of Athens. Police believe that the bombs were being prepared for members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire group, who Christodoulos was allegedly preparing to help break out from Korydallos Prison in Athens.

Police also found a stolen van and a sports utility vehicle at the Loutraki property. They believe that the November 17 man was planning to use the van as a car bomb to blow a hole in the perimeter wall at Korydallos Prison so the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire members, with whom the aging terrorist was in contact before disappearing while on furlough in January 2014, could escape.

Ten members of the urban guerrilla group, which conducted a bloodless bombing campaign, issued a statement from prison on Monday in which they refused to confirm the police’s claims but made it clear that they believe it is their duty to attempt to escape from custody.

Explosives were also found at the property in Anavyssos, southeast of Athens, where Xeros was arrested on Saturday. Officers discovered a hand-drawn diagram apparently showing how weapons would be arranged in a second van to be used in the alleged prison bust.

Police conducted ballistic tests on a handgun Xeros was carrying at the time of his arrest, as well as three more found at the Anavyssos house along with eight AK-47 assault rifles. The results showed that none of the firearms had been used in terrorist or criminal activities before.

The house in Loutraki had been rented in September by a young woman using a stolen identification card with the name Eleni Melani. The ID card was found at the Anavyssos property. Police are looking for a young woman who assisted Xeros but did not give any details about her identity. A young man was also seen at the Loutraki property by neighbors.

Appearing before a magistrate on Monday, Xeros refused to answer any questions, saying that he did not recognize the judge’s authority.