ATHENS – Greek police are reportedly looking into whether criminal gangs are running weapons from Albania to Jihadists involved in Islamic State activities in Syria through Greece, as Cypriot authorities are also trying to prevent would-be ISIS recruits from using the island to get to the terrorists.
Kathimerini said that the probe was launched following the arrest of eight members of a suspected gun-running racket near Durres, on the Albanian coast, and following reports in Albania media indicating that Greece is on the smuggling route for the Syria-bound arms.
A raid by Albanian police last week on a hideout in the town of Shijak resulted in the arrest of eight suspects, aged between 18 and 44, and the seizure of a large weapons cache comprising six Kalashnikov assault rifles, a Skorpion submachine gun, six pistols, five hand grenades, two rifles and some 12,000 rounds of ammunition, the paper said.
In a statement after the raid, a spokesman for the Albanian police said the suspects are believed to be members of an international gun-running racket smuggling arms to Jihadists in Syria.
The apparent Greek connection was mentioned in Albanian media reports, which cited local police officials, and maintained that some of the arms were smuggled through Greece.
One alleged member of the racket, identified as Clirim X., aged 39, has been convicted in Greece for armed robbery in the past, according to the reports. The 39-year-old is believed to be a key member of the racket.
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