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Aug 21, 12:50 PM EDT

Romania's coastguard intercepts boat carrying 70 migrants


BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Romania's coastguard said Monday it has intercepted a fishing boat carrying 70 migrants suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

Border police working for the coastguard said they spotted the vessel late Sunday near the Black Sea port of Constanta. Authorities escorted the boat into port and allowed the migrants to disembark. Some received medical treatment.

They said the group was made up of 35 men, 12 women and 23 minors, who told authorities they were from Iraq and Syria. The statement said an investigation was underway.

Meanwhile in Greece, authorities said Monday they had found 53 refugees and migrants - including 24 minors - walking along a northern highway after a smuggler dumped them on the roadside. Police said the group consisted of 41 Iraqis, five Afghans, five Eritreans and two Syrians.

They were found early Sunday about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, and said they had paid a smuggling gang ?2,000 ($2,300) each to be driven there in a truck from the Turkish border. But the truck driver abandoned them on the highway and drove off.

Also Monday, Greek police at a border crossing with Turkey arrested a Turkish truck driver allegedly found carrying four Afghan migrants into Greece in his vehicle.

In a separate incident, Romanian border police said they have detained 24 Syrian and Iraqi migrants on suspicion of trying to illegally cross the border. They told police they were trying to reach the visa-free Schengen zone.

Border police said they stopped a truck overnight Sunday near Nadlac, a town in western Romanian near the border with Hungary. They found eight men, three women and 13 minors aged 2 to 16 inside the truck who they took for questioning.

A statement said most of the migrants were asylum-seekers in Romania. The truck was driven by a Romanian man who police are investigating for trafficking migrants.

Police are investigating the migrants on suspicion of illegally trying to cross the border.

Hungary is a member of Schengen, but Romania isn't.

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