Three die in Greece border pursuit

Two illegal immigrants, and possibly their smuggler, died Sunday in northern Greece in an attempt to escape a control by police and EU border agency Frontex, police authorities said.

The illegal immigrants were pursued by police and Frontex at the Lykofos crossing near the border with Turkey, when their vehicle «lost control, toppled over…and caught fire,» the police said in a statement.

Six undocumented people were taken to a nearby hospital, two of them fatally injured.

Firefighters found the charred body of the driver, who police believe may have been the group’s smuggler.

Greece is a major entry point into the European Union for illegal migrants from Turkey and the Middle East. Nearly 100,000 people were arrested for illegal entry or residence last year and authorities are currently processing some 30,000 asylum requests by migrants and refugees.

Meanwhile, the first of some 30 detention centres planned nationwide for illegal immigrants started operating on Sunday.

Some 56 undocumented immigrants were transferred to the facility in Amygdaleza near Athens, local media reported.