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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-07-22

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, July 22, 2002








  • [01] AUTHORITIES TURN TO THE LEADERSHIP OF N17 The investigations of the authorities have turned to the leadership of "November 17" and according to estimations the full eradication of the organization should last approximately two weeks.

    From information so far, the rest of the organization's founders, apart from Alexandros Giotopoulos, are appreciated to have ceased all activity after the attack on the former President of the General Union of Greek Workers, Giorgos Raftopoulos, while th e leadership includes one woman and Christos Kassimidis, a leader of ELA who was killed in 1977.

    Meanwhile one more individual that is thought to have participated in N17, has been taken in by the authorities. Thomas Serifis, 36 years old, is an Athens public transit system bus driver, and was arrested yesterday afternoon, after an operation of the counter-terrorism service on his family house in Morfio, Thesprotia.

    More arrests are expected to be carried out during the week, in order for all those thought to be part of the second generation of N17 terrorists to be caught. The authorities had Thomas Serifis under surveillance for quite some time, while his friend Ir aklis Kostaris has also been arrested. Serifis is the 9th individual so far, to be arrested under the suspicion of being connected to the N17 terrorism organization.

    Yesterday, Iraklis Kostaris and Kostas Karatsolis were taken to the DA who announced the criminal charges they were facing. Both of them received an extension on their time to give a statement, until Thursday afternoon, while they hired attorneys.

    Meanwhile, Vassilis and Christodoulos Xeros and Dionysis Georgiadis, who are awaiting trial, are expected to be taken to specially constructed cells in the high security block of the Corydallos penitentiary. Their transfer will take place under extreme s ecurity measures.

    The measures will be strict throughout their transfer and traffic will be interrupted on the streets through which the procession of the counter-terrorism vehicles will pass.

    The cells have already been prepared at Corydallos, and include a surveillance system and are considered extremely secure. The cells will be no larger than 12 square meters, simple in furnishing and will have no sockets or switches.

    On Wednesday, the suspected "instructor" of the organization Alexandros Giotopoulos, and Vassilis Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis, will make their statement to the DA. Three examining judges of the courts of appeal, one regular and two emergency, wil l be appointed tomorrow concerning the N17 case. They will be in charge of the judicial investigation on the eradication of N17.

  • [02] N17'S COBRA MISSILE MYSTERY In their testimonies, the members of "November 17" that participated in the operation of stealing of arms from a military base, revealed that they loaded the arms on to a van. 3.5 and 2.36 inch rockets, MK2 US made grenades, bazookas, ammunition cases, 0 .50 bullets, Browning machine guns, assault rifle rounds, as well as a self propelled and remote controlled Cobra missile. It should be noted that so far, the police have not found the missile, even after searches in both hideouts and the home of all of t he members.

    Savvas Xeros seems to be the organizer of the theft of munitions from the Sykourio military camp in Larissa, on December 24, 1989, according to information concentrated by the Greek Police.

    From the preliminary investigations of the Counter-terrorism service as well as from the testimonies of the members themselves, according to information from the "Imerisia" newspaper, other participants include Christodoulos Xeros, the still at large Dim itris Koufontinas, Iraklis Kostaris and Kostas Karatsolis, as well as certain other individuals that have not been arrested. According to high ranking officials of the Greek Police, it is just a matter of time before they are arrested, since the testimoni es of the arrested terrorists are significant.

    On the night of December 23 1989, the terrorists entered the camp through an open space in the rear, and parked their vehicle near the central warehouse, where the heavy armament was kept. In order not to be discovered by the few men on duty, they broke into the warehouse with special tools, and after transferring the weapons, they replaced the broken doors with new ones. The operation lasted a little less than 5 hours, and despite its long duration and the time they remained in the camp, they were not p erceived. The arms were then transferred to a secluded house outside Attica, until it was transferred to the hideout on Patmos street, 8 years ago. Part of the rockets was transferred to the apartment on Damareos street, in the beginning of 2000, when the

    organization's members rented the house using the name Dimitris Papadimitriou.

    Meanwhile, N17 seemed to use the same fast and flexible method in its every action, according to Christodoulos Xeros. He stated that Alexandros Giotopoulos was the one who chose the target, called the team members and distributed the responsibilities. Th e time plan on the materialization of the plan never exceeded one month, a period in which the members of the organization had to study the movements of the of the target, prepare for their movements and make the necessary trials before the "strike".

  • [03] SERIFIS CONFESSED HIS PARTICIPATION IN N17 Thomas Serifis, arrested yesterday in Morfio, Thesprotia, and taken to the counter-terrorism service's offices in Athens, confessed his participation in "November 17". As announced this afternoon by the Press Spokesperson of the Greek Police, Lefteris Ec onomou, Serifis participated in the theft of armaments from the Sykourio military camp and the theft of bazookas from the Athens War Museum as well as in one robbery.

    Specifically, Mr. Economou pointed out that Thomas Serifis, son of Vassilios and Dimitra, born in Germany in 1966 and residing on Platonos st. 56, Galatsi, bus driver in the Athens public transit system, will be taken to the Magistrate's Court DA today.

    Thomas Serifis, a member of "November 17", confessed that along with other members of "November 17" he committed or participated in the following actions:

    Explosion of a homemade time bomb in an abandoned house, owned by Georgios Katsimichas on February 22, 1989, in Vrilissia, Attica.

    Theft of armaments from the Sykourio military camp on December 24, 1989, in Larissa.

    Theft of bazookas from the Athens War Museum on February 3, 1990.

    Robbery of a Labor Bank branch in Peristeri on July 18, 1990.

    Mr. Economou stressed that investigations are continuing and he reminded his audience of the telephone numbers, 170 and 1964, which civilians can call and submit information.

  • [04] SIMITIS IS CERTAIN THAT THE CHAPTER OF TERRORISM WILL CLOSE ONCE AND FOR ALL The certainty that the efforts against terrorism will put an end to this phenomenon in Greece, was expressed by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in statements he made after the meeting he had with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Simitis, within the framework of his regular meetings with President Stephanopoulos, discussed with him domestic and foreign issues, the developments in Turkey, economic issues and the developments on the issue of terrorism in Greece.

    The Prime Minister stated that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to combat terrorism, stressing that the effort against this phenomenon is not a Saturday night thriller on television, aimed at entertaining the viewers, but an effort that h as to be made with a sense of responsibility and patience.

    The President characterized as important the results of the Greek authorities' efforts against terrorism, while the Prime Minister assured that the chapter of terrorism will close once and for all.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the hope that the efforts will reach the terrorist organization's leadership core and underlined that the whole process should comply with the existing legislation.

  • [05] THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER BRIEFED THE PRESIDENT ON TERRORISM Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis briefed President Kostis Stephanopoulos on the developments concerning terrorism.

    After the meeting, Mr. Chrisochoidis avoided to make extensive comments and simply stated that he briefed the president on the developments and the efforts in the front of terrorism.

  • [06] THE PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER BRIEFED THE POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis briefed right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis on the current developments concerning the efforts to break up the terrorist group "17 November".

    Mr. Karamanlis expressed satisfaction for the progress made and congratulated the Greek Police for the efforts they made and the positive results so far. He reiterated that the dismantling of terrorism is an issue of national importance for New Democracy

    and his party has shown its determination on the issue through actions.

    The assurance that light will be shed on the issue of terrorism was given by Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis in statements he made after the meeting he had with Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Konstantopoulos to brief him on the developme nts in the effort to combat terrorism.

    Mr. Chrisochoidis stressed that in the effort against terrorism the fundamental rights of the Greek citizens will be respected, while the constitutional and juridical regulations will be observed.

    Mr. Konstantopoulos stated that the dismantling of "17 November" is a great success and characterized as dangerous the scenarios linking terrorist activities with political parties.

    The Greek Communist Party, KKE, in a statement issued after the meeting its general secretary Ms. Aleka Papariga had with Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, expressed reservations on whether the investigations on terrorism in Greece will lead to the formal revelation of the masterminds of the "17 November" terrorist group.

  • [07] THE PROSECUTOR FILED CHARGES AGAINST THOMAS SERIFIS Criminal charges for a number of felonies were filed by the prosecutor against Thomas Serifis, member of the terrorist group "17 November", who was arrested in the prefecture of Thesprotia yesterday.

    Serifis is accused of participation in a criminal organization, supply, possession and manufacturing of explosives, weapons' possession, bomb explosion, robberies, illegal arms possession and gun use. Serifis confessed his participation in the criminal a ctivities attributed to him.

    He appeared before the examining judge where he requested and received more time until Thursday to prepare his testimony.

  • [08] SHOCKING EVIDENCE IN THE TESTIMONY OF CHRISTODOULOS XIROS Christodoulos Xiros in his confession to the examining judge today referred to Alexandros Giotopoulos, his acquaintance with a "17 November" terrorist group member under the code-name "Loukas", later identified as Dimitris Koufodinas, and the attacks in which he participated as a member of the specific terrorist group.

    Christodoulos Xiros stated that he was recruited to the terrorist group by Koufodinas in late 1983.

    On Alexandros Giotopoulos, he stated that he used the code-mane "Lambros " or the nickname "the tall guy". He had a leading role in the activities he participated in, while it was known to all the terrorist group members that he was the one who wrote the

    terrorist group manifestos and suggested the next target. Christodoulos Xiros maintained that he did not know the names of the victims in advance but he was informed of them after the attacks.

    On the "17 November" member under the code-name "Nikitas", he pointed out that he had a pottery shop at 3rd September Street in Omonia, Athens. He also said that he was not aware of the presence of any female group-member.

    He testified that the members of the group tested the explosive devices and the rockets stolen from the Sikourion Army Camp in a remote area in Vravrona, in the wider Athens region, to determine if they were working properly.

    Christodoulos Xiros also referred to a man under the code-name "Markos", who was a teacher, around 40 and a resident of Thessaloniki.

    Christodoulos Xiros stated that he first went to Athens in 1979 at the age of 21. He maintained that he belonged to the extra-parliamentary Left and in a political rally held outside the Chemistry School building in late 1983, a well-known unionist spoke

    to him for first time on the likelihood of an armed action. This individual was the one who brought him into contact with Dimitris Koufodinas.

  • [09] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.89% at 2.083,34 points, while the volume of transactions was at 69.5 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, only 38 recorded gains and the overwhelming majority of 280 had losses, while the value of 61 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] THE GREEK PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT EXPRESSED SATISFACTION FOR THE GREEK POLICE EFFORTS Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis briefed Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on the results of the efforts to dismantle the "17 November" terrorist group.

    Mr. Kaklamanis expressed his complete satisfaction to the Minister of Public Order for the successes of the Greek Police and commented that terrorism apart from its criminal action inside the country it was also used to hurt the Greek national interests and Greece's prestige abroad.


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