Greece to EU commissioner: Crackdown stopping illegal immigrants
Illegal immigrants watch from the windows of a building at a detention center in Komotini town, northern Greece, on Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. (AP / Nikolas Giakoumidis)
Published Monday, October 8, 2012 11:19AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 8, 2012 11:20AM EDT
KOMOTINI, Greece - Police in northern Greece say a two-month crackdown on illegal immigration has led to a dramatic drop in the number of people trying to cross into the country illegally.
Authorities said Monday that 1,337 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested at the border with Turkey between Aug. 4 and Oct. 6. That compares with 14,724 during the same period last year.
Police announced the results during a trip to Greece by European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who visited one of five new detention centres that opened this year with the help of EU funds.
Greece in early August began an open-ended operation, named Xenios Zeus -- roughly meaning "Hospitable Zeus" -- reinforcing border controls and carrying out thousands of street inspections of suspected illegal immigrants in Greek cities.