Fugitive Greek extremist taunts government

One of Greece's deadliest far-left extremists, who disappeared while on prison leave, on Monday taunted and threatened the country's government which he said had ruined the country with austerity measures.

"Your democracy is long dead, and the aberration that remains is so blatantly fascist that the hooks of the swastika protrude," Christodoulos Xiros wrote in an online tract accompanied by a brief video of himself.

"Nothing can save you.... When I return I will screw you," said Xiros, wearing a red tracksuit top and standing before images of Che Guevara, two heroes of Greece's revolutionary war against Turkey and a Greek civil war Communist guerrilla leader.

"I've decided to fire the guerrilla shotgun against those who stole our life and sold our dreams for profit," he said.

The 56-year-old was a leading hitman for November 17, a far-left outfit that carried out a series of assassinations of prominent Greek and foreign targets between 1975 and 2000.

The group was named after a student uprising against Greece's US-backed military junta in 1973.

Xiros' disappearance on January 7 while on a nine-day leave caused alarm in the United States, with the State Department calling for his swift capture.

A State Department spokeswoman said: "We're obviously deeply concerned that this convicted terrorist remains at large and is now allegedly issuing renewed calls for violence. We remain very closely engaged with the Greek officials.... on trying to find him and bring him back to prison."

In his tract, which was posted on anti-establishment site Indymedia, Xiros accused the government of bringing Greek society to the point of collapse, pointing to austerity cuts adopted over the past four years.

Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias declined to comment on the tract.

"I have no reason to comment on the thoughts of whichever terrorist, and Christodoulos Xiros in particular," Dendias said.