Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attache Killed, Terrorism Suspected Pressure Mounts for Crackdown

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Attache Killed, Terrorism Suspected Pressure Mounts for Crackdown

Article excerpt

ATHENS, Greece -- A British defense attache was assassinated yesterday and police found evidence pointing to the terrorist group November 17, whose members have eluded capture despite a 25-year legacy of bloodshed.

Greek officials are under pressure to show results after what appears to be the group's 22nd slaying: a .45-caliber barrage into the chest and stomach of Brig. Stephen Saunders, the defense attache in the British Embassy, while he drove to a meeting to discuss possible tank sales to Greece.

Two gunmen riding a motorcycle pulled up to the passenger side of Saunders' car, which he was driving alone on a roadway clogged with morning commuters. The gunmen fired through the window and fled. Saunders died later in a hospital.

"Deeply brutal and pointless," said British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook of the killing.

A failure to make an arrest would be a blow for Greece, which is trying to shed its image as an unstable corner of Western Europe.

"Greece is unable to face the phenomenon of terrorism," said parliament member Dora Bakoyannis, whose politician husband, Pavlos, was killed by November 17 in 1989. "We must not have taboos to take the steps needed."

Such demands are also coming from Washington. Among the November 17 victims are four American officials and one U.S. Embassy employee.

But there have never been widespread demands for major anti-terrorist sweeps from average Greeks, who generally feel untouched by November 17 because it limits attacks to foreigners and prominent Greeks.

In an interview published yesterday in the Greek weekly Pondiki, former CIA director James Woolsey suggested the Greek government was "not serious in its pursuit of November 17."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But all signs point to November 17, which takes its name from the 1973 student-led uprising against the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. …

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