January 3, 2015 / 2:42 PM / 3 years ago

Greek police arrest fugitive Marxist guerrilla

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police on Saturday arrested Christodoulos Xiros, a fugitive member of the Marxist guerrilla group November 17 who had absconded while on leave from prison almost a year ago.

Christodoulos Xiros, 56, is serving multiple life terms for his role in Greece’s most lethal guerrilla group, which killed Greek, U.S. and British diplomats before being dismantled in 2002. A police official said he had been arrested in Anavissos, a coastal town outside Athens.

While on the run, Xiros had appeared in a video vowing to avenge the pain ordinary Greeks have suffered under international bailout programs. A 1 million euro ($1.2 million) reward had been offered for his capture.

Xiros’ escape from prison in Jan. 2014 was an embarrassment for Greek authorities and prompted the United States to call for authorities to use all means available to apprehend him.

As in other European countries including Germany and Italy, a number of violent leftist groups were active in Greece from the 1970s and 1980s and authorities have been concerned about the prospect of a resurgence during the economic crisis.

When arrested, Xiros was armed but made no attempt to resist. He was riding a bicycle near the house he had been renting, officials said.

To disguise his appearance, the dark-haired fugitive had grown a beard and wore a blonde wig. Police are searching the home he had rented a few months ago in the area.

His arrest follows that of Nikos Maziotis, a member of a group called Revolutionary Struggle, after a shootout in central Athens in July last year.

($1 = 0.8334 euros)

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Holmes

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