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Greek police detain Turks after arms seizure

July 30, 2013

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Counterterrorism police detained 12 people during raids in Greece on Tuesday following the arrest of six men suspected of ferrying explosives and weapons across the Aegean Sea to Turkey.

The suspects taken into custody during the raids were detained during house searches in Athens and Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki.

The raids were ordered after the arms were seized on a 7-meter (23-foot) speedboat between the Greek islands of Oinousses and Chios, near the Turkish coast, where four men were arrested, according to a coastguard statement. Two men were arrested on Chios later Tuesday. The vessel was carrying two anti-tank shells, unspecified quantities of improvised explosive devices, bullets, four hand grenades and two pistols.

A senior police official identified the six arrested men as three Greeks and three Turkish nationals. He said police are investigating whether the Turks are involved in militant activities in Turkey.

Greece has repeatedly denied Turkish media reports that it shelters militants. A small number of Turkish leftwing activists live in Greece, where they have requested political asylum.

The police official, who asked not to be identified as the investigation is ongoing, said counterterrorism police in central Athens have detained eight men for questioning in connection with the case — six Turks, a Bulgarian and a Belgian national — and a German woman. He said three Turks are being questioned in the northern city of Thessaloniki, while a separate operation was under way in the southern town of Corinth.

The official said the speedboat appeared to have been headed for Turkey, although it was unclear where it had sailed from.

Update hourly