Greece transferring 450 migrants to facility near Athens

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece is transferring 450 migrants recently detained for trying to reach the island of Lesbos illegally to a facility near Athens, authorities said Sunday.

A ship with the migrants landed at a port near Athens and the migrants will be transferred to a facility just north of the capital pending deportation, an official at the Ministry of Migration policy told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the matter. The transfer to the facility was still underway Sunday morning.

All the migrants have been detained since March 1, just days after Turkey said it was opening its borders to the millions of migrants on its soil. In response, Greece has toughened its stance, suspending all asylum applications for a month and jailing migrants, and refugees, who tried to cross the land border from Turkey.

Although the migrants had been taken to the ship several days ago, the whole operation had been shrouded in secrecy, with officials refusing to comment on the ship’s destination even after it left Lesbos early Saturday afternoon.

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Costas Kantouris reported from Thessaloniki, Greece.

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