British Kurds arrested in northern Greece were part of known arms racket, sources say


Three British nationals of Iraqi Kurdish origin who were arrested last month in the Evros border region after being found with illegal weapons and ammunition in their camper van, belong to a wider arms smuggling network, sources close to the investigation told Kathimerini on Thursday.

The network was reportedly known to EU law enforcement authorities since 2013 for purchasing weapons in the bloc for distribution in Iraq.

The suspects had entered Greece from the western port Igoumenitsa on a ferry from Bari, Italy, and then drove to the town of Alexandroupoli close to the Greek-Turkish border.

Members of the racket have already been arrested in the UK, Germany and Turkey but authorities in these countries had, until recently, not realized the cases were linked.

According to sources, another two British passport holders, respectively of Iraqi and Iranian origin, that were arrested in Ipsala in Turkey close to the Greek border last December, were also members of the same network.

According to Turkish media reports, the two men had entered the country via the Evros border crossing in Greece with 70,000 gun cartridges hidden in their vehicle.