Britons with arms cache on Turkish border jailed awaiting trial

19th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Greece has jailed three Britons caught carrying weapons and ammunition near the Turkish border apparently destined for Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State jihadists, officials said Friday.

The three men, aged 35 to 40, will remain in custody at the Korydallos prison in Athens until their trial is held. No date has been given.

They were arrested on Sunday near the border with Turkey with a large haul of rifles and thousands of bullets hidden inside two trailers.

The 40-year-old suspect, said to be of Kurdish Iraqi origin, had four Walther handguns and 200,000 22mm rounds in his possession when he was picked up at the Kipi border post on the Evros River.

Police arrested the other two men in the port of Alexandropolis, the main town in the Evros region and a key commercial centre in northeastern Greece.

They were found in possession of 18 rifles and another 40,000 22mm and 5.5 mm bullets stowed in their trailer.

According to police, the trio said they had been respectively paid 2,000 and 3,000 euros ($2,200 and $3,300) to take the trailers to northern Iraq, without knowing the weapons were on board.

Counter-terrorism services are investigating the men after police said they suspected all three of "terrorism and belonging to a criminal organisation," as well as arms trafficking.

On January 31, two men with Swedish passports were arrested in the same region after they were found carrying "combat material" having flown to Greece from Sweden before heading towards Turkey by bus.

One, Mirsad Bektasevic, a suspected jihadist of Bosnian origin, was charged with "terrorist" activities along with an alleged accomplice believed to hail from Yemen.

Bektasevic was previously arrested in 2005 in Sarajevo after a police search of his house uncovered ammunition and explosives and a video in which a masked man called for attacks on Capitol Hill and the White House in Washington.


© 2016 AFP

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