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17 November terrorist on the loose

Greek police are searching for a convicted member of dismantled extremist group November 17 who failed to report to the authorities during prison leave over New Year, police officials said on Tuesday.

Christodoulos Xiros, 56, was serving multiple life terms in Athens for participating in a series of deadly attacks carried out by his Marxist group against Greek, U.S. and British businessmen and diplomats.

His lawyer Frangiskos Ragousis said he believed his client has escaped. "It is a political decision in line with his revolutionary activity," Ragousis told television station Skai .

Christodoulos Xiros was given licence to leave Korydallos prison in Piraeus on New Year's day and was due to return to jail on Tuesday.

Under the terms of his licence, he was to report daily to police at Nea Kallikratia, on the Halkidiki peninsula near the northern city of Thessaloniki, where he had said he would stay with his sister. 

Xiros was on eight days of leave in northern Greece when he failed to report to the police station, as he was meant to do daily, on Monday, prompting a police search.

November 17, Greece's most lethal extremist group, was dismantled in 2002 after a bomb exploded in the hands of Xiros's brother Savvas.

All three Xiros brothers, sons of an Orthodox priest, were November 17 members.

More than 10 members of the group were convicted for 23 killings and dozens of bomb attacks spanning three decades. (

Born in 1958 in Ikaria  Christodoulos is  the eldest son of the family  Xeros. He joined the organization by Dimitris Koufodinas in 1983 with whom he came in contact through the  Yiannis Serifis  after he had moved to Athens .

After the explosion of an improvised device in the hands of his brother Savvas, in Piraeus on 29/06/2002 , was first arrested for involvement in the organization .  He confessed his participation on 17/07/2002 .

On deposits described in detail the mode of action of N17 , reported to members of the organization who knew and admitted that he took part in a series of attacks .was given licence to leave Korydallos prison in Piraeus on New Year's day and was due to return to jail on Tuesday.

Xiros was one of three brothers - whose father was a priest - arrested and convicted for their role in the group's 27-year-long campaign of killings and bombings.

In a related development, his brother Savvas Xiros - serving five consecutive life sentences plus an additional 25 years for his involvement in November 17 - is due to be transferred from Korydallos prison to Larisa University hospital on Tuesday, amid high security.

The health of the 52-year-old, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, has reportedly deteriorated recently.

The group was dismantled in 2002 when Savvas Xiros, an icon painter, was captured after being seriously injured when the bomb he was apparently attempting to plant in Athens exploded prematurely.

Speaking on Skai TV, government spokesman, Simos Kedikoglou, underlined his view that terrorist convicts must not be treated like ordinary prisoners. Ruling out any possibility that Savvas Xiros will be granted early release, he said: "When you're dealing with cases of unrepentant convicted terrorists, I do not think that they should be treated like ordinary prisoners."