The Latest: Serbia, Croatia arrest 17 for smuggling migrants

The Latest: Serbia, Croatia arrest 17 for smuggling migrants

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

3 p.m.

Police in Serbia and Croatia have arrested 17 people accused of smuggling dozens of migrants across the two nations' border, into Croatia and thus the European Union.

Serbian police said in a statement Wednesday that 13 people have been arrested in Serbia and additional four in Croatia as part of a months-long joint operation.

The statement says the organized criminal group illegally transferred 82 migrants from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, charging each of them 1,500 euros ($1,780).

There are some 4,500 migrants in Serbia who are seeking to move on to wealthier European nations in search of a better life. Many have turned to people smugglers to guide them over the heavily guarded borders of Serbia's EU neighbors Croatia and Hungary.

Hundreds are staying out in the open in freezing temperatures.


9:55 a.m.

Greek authorities say at least seven people have been injured in an overnight brawl at an overcrowded migrant detention center on the island of Lesbos.

Police said Wednesday the fight broke out Tuesday night between Kurdish and Arab men in the Moria camp and lasted for hours, leaving several tents inside the camp burnt.

Island authorities and human rights groups have long complained about the conditions in Moria, which has been severely over capacity for several months.

Under a 2016 European Union-Turkey agreement, migrants arriving on Greek islands from Turkey are held on the islands facing deportation to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece. The deal has created a massive backlog as hundreds of people continue to arrive.

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