UK arrests man suspected of organising migrant smuggling operations from Egypt – Middle East Monitor

British authorities have arrested a man suspected of organising the smuggling of thousands of migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean Sea, potentially leading to the deaths of many hundreds.

According to BBC News, police arrested a 40-year-old Egyptian national today who they believe worked with people-smuggling networks in North Africa to organise smuggling operations to Italy.

The arrest comes after a series of boat capsizing incidents and migrant deaths in recent weeks, including the sinking of a fishing boat off southern Greece last week, in which only around a hundred migrants survived out of an estimated 400 to 750 who were on board the boat from Egypt. Hundreds are presumed dead after they were not found.

READ: UN agencies call for ‘urgent, decisive’ steps after Mediterranean migrant boat disaster

The unnamed suspect was reported to be held by NCA officers in Hounslow, west London, yesterday, and was questioned on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

According to Darren Barr, senior investigating officer from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) stated that “We suspect this man has been running his operation from the UK and masterminding the smuggling of thousands of migrants.”

Barr highlighted the fact that the type of boats used by traffickers and organised crime groups for the smuggling crossings “are death traps and, sadly, many people have died after incidents in the Mediterranean, which demonstrates the level of danger.”

READ: Greece was alerted about migrant boat, Frontex chief confirms

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