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Over 100 European suspects identified in online child abuse investigation

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By Euronews  with AP, EFE
The gloabl investigation, supported by Europol, was launched in 2019.
The gloabl investigation, supported by Europol, was launched in 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Mike Corder, File

European police officers have identified more than 100 suspects after a global investigation into child abuse images shared online.

The long-running investigation has led to the arrests of dozens of people in New Zealand and the safeguarding of 146 children, Europol said in a statement.

Investigators identified some 90,000 online accounts that had possessed or traded shocking abuse images, the European Union police agency added.

A total of 836 cases have been launched around the world, with 46 people arrested in New Zealand.

Europol said two suspects in Austria and Hungary were identified for allegedly “abusing their own children, aged 6 and 8 years old, respectively.”

"Another investigation in Spain uncovered that a suspect possessed and disseminated child sexual exploitation material, while also filming naked and sexual images of adults without their consent," it added.

New Zealand police said the global investigation concerned "some of the most horrific and devastating child sexual abuse material online".

"Many of the children featured in the images and videos were just infants who were exposed to obvious and intentional pain and suffering," a statement read.

The investigation -- known as "operation H" -- was led by New Zealand, alongside police forces in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

A large number of inquiries are still ongoing across the European Union.