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Greek Coast Guard Intercepts Yacht, Sailboat With Migrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek coast guard authorities say they have intercepted a yacht carrying 124 people believed to be migrants just off the coast of the Cycladic island of Milos, nearly three days after intercepting nearly three dozen others in a sailboat on the coast of a southern Greek island.

The coast guard said it was tipped off by a member of the public about the yacht, which was located in the early hours of Tuesday near a beach on the southern coast of Milos.

All 124 people on board were transported to the coast, while the yacht, which was found to have taken on a small amount of water, was confiscated, the coast guard said. The nationalities of those on board were not immediately made public.

In a separate incident announced Tuesday, the coast guard said it intercepted 35 migrants on Sunday and arrested two people, ages 36 and 71, on suspicion of people-smuggling, after receiving a distress call about a sailboat on the southern Greek island of Kythira.

The boat’s passengers were safely evacuated to shore, while the sailboat ran aground on a rocky part of the island’s western coast, the coast guard said. The nationalities of the passengers and suspected smugglers were not announced.

Although thousands of people attempt to cross into the European Union through Greece, heading to Greek islands from Turkey, the vast majority do so on islands near the Turkish coast. Both Milos and Kythira are far from the traditional migrant route, with Milos lying about 150 miles from the nearest Turkish coast, and Kythira about 250 miles from Turkey, off the southern tip of the Greek mainland.

Greece has been bolstering its surveillance of land and sea borders with Turkey and has made clear it wants to deter asylum-seekers from entering the country.

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