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Cypriot authorities concerned over increasing wave of immigrants

Staff Writer |
The Cypriot authorities are concerned over the increasing wave of immigrants, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said after yet another boatload of refugees arrived at a popular resort on Saturday.

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"Indeed, there is a worrying upward trend of irregular migrant inflows to Cyprus, " the minister said.

He added that authorities are also worried that some of the migrants could pose a security threat.

Several groups totaling 92 people arrived in the past 10 days or so in Cyprus, and were intercepted in different areas of the eastern Mediterranean island.

The latest group of arrived on Saturday at the popular tourist resort of Protaras, in southeastern Cyprus, less than 24 hours another boat was intercepted in the same area. Both boats seem to have sailed directly from war-torn Syria, about 175 kilometers to the northeast.

Authorities said the latest group numbered 25 people, among them nine children, including two infants.

Statistics showed that there has been a 56 percent increase in asylum applications in 2017, over 2016, and around 40 percent in the first five months of this year.

Cypriot authorities said that they examined some 10,000 asylum applications up to 2017 and there are still 3,000 pending from last year and 2,435 this year, the majority of them by people from Syria.

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