Paper: Police close to November 17

Members of the November 17 terrorist organization could be named in a matter of months, The Observer newspaper reported yesterday, on the 26th anniversary of the first murder by Greece’s deadliest urban guerrilla group. Citing sources who have been working closely with British, American and Greek intelligence, the British paper said that the Greek authorities have made progress since Scotland Yard detectives joined the investigation following the gang’s murder of British defense attache Brig. Stephen Saunders in June 2000. Despite the initial frustration of British detectives surprised by the ineptitude of the local police, Anglo-Greek counter-terrorist cooperation is said to have been much more productive than similar efforts with the Americans, it said in a dispatch by its Athens correspondent, Helena Smith. The report coincides with leaks to Greek papers in the past week that police could be close to identifying suspects. No one has been arrested since November 17 appeared with the murder of CIA station chief Richard Welch on December 23, 1975. The British have been a great school for us. They have shown us the way to conduct investigations, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis told The Observer. From the moment they got here, there has been very serious cooperation, and it has been very effective. One well-placed insider told The Observer, They’re very close, they have names. They just want to make sure that the evidence will stand up in a court of law. The group could comprise six people at the top (who could be in their sixties), 15 support activists and numerous hired henchmen, including assassins, at the bottom, The Observer said. A well-known cultural figure is thought to be among the suspects, as are former holders of office under the ruling PASOK party, it said.