Athens (dpa) - Greek officials are investigating a possible smuggling operation that delivers arms from Albania to Islamic State militants in Syria, local media said on Friday.
The case was prompted by the arrest last week of eight members of a suspected gun-smuggling ring near Durres, along the central Albanian coast, the daily Kathimerini reported.
Police are investigating the possibility that Greece, which is a major land route from Albania to the coast of the Aegean Sea to Syria, is a thoroughfare for the smuggled arms. Eight men, aged between 18 and 44, were arrested during last week‘s bust by Albanian police in the town of Shijak. Police seized a large weapons cache comprising of six Kalashnikov assault rifles, a Skorpion submachine gun, six pistols, five hand grenades, two rifles and some 12,000 rounds of ammunition, reports said.
A spokesman from the Albanian police was quoted in reports as saying the suspects are believed to be members of an international gun-running racket smuggling arms to jihadists in Syria.
One of the key members of the group, identified in Greek and Albanian media reports as Clirim X, 39, has been convicted in Greece for armed robbery.