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Greece: Three migrants hurt as Greek coastguards fire at boat

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Greece: Three migrants hurt as Greek coastguards fire at boat


Greek authorities say three people were injured when coastguards opened fire on a migrant-smuggling vessel that allegedly tried to ram their patrol boat.

A Merchant Marine Ministry statement says none of the three, two men and a woman, suffered life-threatening injuries. Their nationalities were not made public.

The plastic speedboat was carrying 16 immigrants, 13 of whom were out of sight in a cabin, and a Turkish smuggler, who was arrested.

Its master allegedly ignored commands to stop early Thursday off the eastern Aegean Sea islet of Oinousses and, according to the statement, repeatedly tried to ram the coastguard vessel.

The statement said that, following engagement rules, the coastguards first fired shots in the air and then at the speedboat’s bows before it stopped.

Greece is one of the main entry points for migrants attempting to enter the European Union. Thousands cross from Turkey to nearby Greek islands, often aboard rickety boats.

Last month 12 people, mostly children, died when a boat carrying 28 migrants sank near the island of Farmakonisi. The survivors accused the coast guard of trying to tow their boat back into Turkish waters, and of botching the rescue. The coast guard has vehemently denied the claims.

Associated Press

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