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Armed Kurdish rebels apprehended in Alexandroupolis

15 February 2016 / 21:02:19  GRReporter
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The three Britons of Iraqi origin who were detained in Alexandroupolis in two operations carried out by the police and the coast guard respectively are friends and members of the same criminal organization. A huge arsenal was found with the detainees, which had to reach the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Yesterday the three detainees were taken to the public prosecutor of the city of Alexandroupolis who raised very serious charges against them, namely involvement in a criminal organization, terrorism, illegal trade, transportation and possession of ammunition and firearms. Tomorrow they are to defend themselves before an investigator.

According to the sources, the detainees want to deliver their defensive speeches in Kurdish, not in English, and therefore aid has been requested from an official translator.

The Greek authorities and the National Intelligence Service had kept under surveillance the two caravans for a few days because they had information that they were carrying weapons and ammunition to the Islamic caliphate, according to initial data.

In the first caravan that was found on Saturday afternoon at the entrance to the parking lot at the port of Alexandroupolis, the authorities found and seized 18 firearms with ribbed barrel fillers and about 40,000 cartridges of different calibre. They apprehended two men, aged 35 and 36, and found on them a considerable amount in US dollars, Turkish liras, Iraqi dinars as well as 941 euro.

On Sunday morning the authorities searched the second caravan at Kipi border crossing in Evros and found in it 200,000 cartridges of 22nd calibre, 4 rifles, 8 optical sights and cash amounts, and apprehended a 40-year-old man of Iraqi origin with a British passport.

Both vehicles had German registration plates and according to the sources, the detainees said they were involved in the transportation of the arsenal that was intended for the fight of Kurdish rebels against jihadists.

The three perpetrators had set off from Germany, where they had received the weapons and ammunition from an unknown person. However, there are serious suspicions that they had departed from Austria, from the region of the German-Austrian border. They told the authorities that each of them would have received 3,000 euro for the transportation of the dangerous cargo and would have kept the caravans as a gift. However, the detained refused to name the recipient of the weapons.

The fact that they passed through Germany is confirmed by the toll receipts found as well as by tickets from Italy to Igoumenitsa. As is now clear, the three men crossed the border at Malgara on 2 February. It seems that the 40-year-old man was travelling in Diyarbakir last month, from where he left for Istanbul on 10 January and from there to Germany.

The authorities believe that the two caravans separated and the two men detained at the port waited for their third accomplice who was apprehended at Kipi border crossing to reach Turkey and only then to set off in order to avoid being suspected and apprehended.

To cover their tracks, they left one of the caravans at the port, as if a tourist would ravel by ship, planning to depart for Turkey after a few days, through the border crossing in Kipi. For this reason, they often searched for information on when the passage of cars was restricted by the farmers who had blocked the border crossing.

One of the two caravans where the arsenal has been found

The weapons were hidden in boxes placed in specially made hiding places under the beds in the caravan. Moreover, the holes were plugged up with silicone in order for specially trained coast guard and police dogs not to detect them.

Over the past eight days, the three had lived in the same hotel in Alexandroupolis and yesterday the police thoroughly raided the rooms where they had been staying.

Interpol data  

All three with no criminal record

The Greek police sent to Interpol data and other information about the detainees but according to initial data, they were not arrested in the past nor had they criminal records. "It looks they are ‘clean’. In general, people with a criminal record are not used for such missions because it will be difficult to make such a trip without being detected in a country," a senior police officer told the newspaper Ethnos.

The case is being investigated by the coast guard and the Greek police services, and anti-terrorism teams and the representatives of the National Intelligence Service have also arrived in the city.

The three detainees does not seem to assist the authorities, often speak of "the brothers, Kurdish fighters" and are against the Islamic state and jihadists, but without disclosing information about their accomplices.

According to the authorities, "they are well trained to carry weapons" and it is an indicative fact that they did not talk with each other and did not exchange glances in the remand centre where they were taken yesterday, although they had admitted that they knew each other.

Tags: Kurdish rebelsArmouryDetainedAlexandroupolisJihad
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