Turkish coast guard officers opened fire on a boat carrying about 30 illegal immigrants to Greece overnight, authorities said Monday. One Syrian immigrant was killed and two people, including a Greek crew member, were injured.
The coast guard opened fire when the Greek boat did not heed calls to stop and attempted to escape toward the Greek island of Chios off the Aegean port city of Izmir, authorities said.
The injured were hospitalized. Two Greek crew members were expected to be charged with human smuggling. Most of the passengers were Syrian, according to the AP.
Turkish coast guard, meanwhile, recovered the bodies of four illegal immigrants who drowned in the Aegean Sea when their boat capsized last week, the Anatolia news agency said. Eight other people were still missing. Most of the immigrants on that boat were Iraqis.
Turkey is a major transit point for Middle Eastern and African migrants attempting to reach Europe illegally, and Greece announced that its coast guard had arrested 29 illegal immigrants in the eastern Aegean Sea on Monday along with a Turk suspected of trying to smuggle them.
The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said a patrol boat located the migrants, among whom were 11 children, and the suspected smuggler on a small wooden vessel off the island of Samos.
The migrants, whose nationalities were not made public, were all in good health, the ministry said, adding that they had set off from the nearby Turkish coast.
In the first half of 2005, coast guards detained a total of 1,280 illegal migrants in Greek waters.