Former Greek security chief Ioannidis dies

Dimitrios Ioannidis, the feared security chief who led a countercoup against Greece's military leaders and provoked Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974, has died at age 87.

Dimitrios Ioannidis, the feared security chief who led a countercoup against Greece's military leaders and provoked Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974, has died at age 87.

Ioannidis, who was jailed for life for his part in the 1967-74 dictatorship, died Monday in an Athens hospital, a day after experiencing breathing problems in prison, the justice ministry said.

As head of the brutal ESA military police, Ioannidis was a key figure in the military dictatorship that seized power on April 21, 1967. The dictators imposed martial law and cracked down heavily on political opponents, imprisoning or exiling thousands, many of whom were tortured by ESA.

The junta was condemned in the West, and the U.S. temporarily banned arms sales to Greece. But a 1971 visit by Vice-President Spiro Agnew, who was of Greek descent, was viewed by many as tacit approval of the dictatorship.

Canada was involving in peacekeeping on Cyprus from 1963 until the mid-1990s. A total of 28 Canadian soldiers out of the 50,000 stationed there died. There are still a few observers on the divided island.

No funeral arrangements for Ioannidis have been announced.