Two thousand migrants have been detained in Greece following a crackdown on illegal immigration.
In a press conference on Thursday, Greek Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Nikos Karpakis said the two-week-long operation targeted several migrants and had uncovered 1,400 “persons illegally entering the Greek territory”.
The operation began after the authorities received information that a number of migrants were heading to Greece via Hungary.
Karpakis did not provide any details about the number of people who had been arrested, but confirmed that the operation had netted two “perses who have been living illegally in the Greek state”.
“The operation has been carried out to prevent illegal immigration,” Karpakis said.
He added that the two people arrested were identified as one man from Iran and a woman from Bangladesh.
He said the man who was arrested was believed to be the head of the smuggling ring that was responsible for smuggling hundreds of migrants to the Greek island of Lesbos in 2015 and 2016.
The man was detained on Wednesday morning, while the woman was detained later on Thursday morning.
Karmakis added that they would not provide further details about who the second man was, other than to say that they were being held in a detention centre in Lesbos.
The raids come amid a wave of migrant and refugee arrivals in Greece and the Balkans, which has been a major source of tension with neighbouring Turkey.
The influx of migrants and refugees to Europe has strained relations between the two countries.
The government has so far made no move to close its borders, despite calls from European Union states to do so.
However, European leaders are under pressure to tackle the influx, after the country last week said it would allow more migrants and asylum seekers to enter its territory.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council unanimously backed a call for an urgent emergency meeting of the UN Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), which is responsible for monitoring the situation in the region.
The UN says there are more than 3 million people in Greece, of whom more than 1.1 million are refugees.