NEWS

Police said to have found hideout of escaped convict, terror suspect

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Counter-terrorism officers in Athens have discovered what they believe to be the hideout of an escaped convict and suspected member of an urban guerrilla group who was arrested on January 30 while on the run from prison. The suspect had been convicted to 13 years in prison for an armed attack against police in 2015.

Officers raided an apartment in Athens that was rented under the name of one of two women who were arrested last week with the escaped prisoner, identified as Yiannis Michalidis, a 32-year-old alleged member of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire dubbed “Syntagma archer” for trying to shoot at police with a bow-and-arrow during an Athens protest in 2011.

The apartment had reportedly been rented by the woman – believed to be Michailidis’ girlfriend – in September 2019. Police raided the property just as it was being cleared out by a man who said he had been paid to do so.

A search of the apartment turned up computer memory devices, a SIM card and a drone, as well as a printer, laminating plastic and photo portraits of Michailidis similar to the ones on a fake identity card he had been carrying when he was arrested.

Investigators reportedly have evidence to suggest that Michailidis may have been planning to hold up a bank in northern Greece at the time of his arrest.

Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire are renowned for holding up banks to fund their operations. The 32-year-old suspect has been accused of involvement in a double heist in Velvento in Kozani in 2013 carried out by members of the group. The group is also known for sending letter bombs to prominent financial and political figures, including the one that badly injured Greece’s interim prime minister Lefteris Papadimas in 2017 and another that injured an employee at the International Monetary Fund’s Paris headquarters.

Michailidis and his two suspected accomplices were arrested in northern Athens last week while riding in a car that had been reported stolen. They were found to be in possession of a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a submachine gun and two pistols. The other of the two women who were arrested with him is known to police as a close associate of convicted terrorist Pola Roupa.