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Two Brits arrested over people trafficking claims

Two British men have been arrested in Hungary accused of trying to smuggle 11 Syrian and Afghani migrants into Austria illegally, police said.

The men were arrested in Hungary Credit: Google Maps

A 26-year-old man identified as 'AS' and a 31-year-old identified as 'SMS' were stopped by officers as they drove their Nissan along the motorway which leads to the border.

No further details were immediately available.

Hungary was the main gateway for migrants and refugees trying to reach northern Europe until it sealed its southern border in the autumn, allowing only a few to cross the fence each day.

It is part of the European Union's Schengen zone, meaning passport controls have been abolished, but regular identity checks are carried out by Hungarian police on the motorway to the Austrian border.

In a separate arrest, a 34-year-old Indian national was driving a BMW containing an unspecified number of Somali and Pakistani citizens along the same stretch of motorway.

Austrian police step up security amid terror warning

Austrian police have stepped up security in Vienna and other cities after receiving a warning of possible attacks during the holiday season.

Austrian police have stepped up security in Vienna and other cities. Credit: Chris Yunker/Flickr

A statement issued by Vienna police said:

In the lead-up to Christmas, a friendly intelligence service sent a warning to numerous European capitals saying potential bomb or gun attacks could take place in areas with large crowds between Christmas and New Year

– Statement from Vienna police

The warning included "several names of potential attackers" but investigations have so far yielded no concrete results, the statement said.

Tighter Austrian border controls spark long traffic delays

Credit: Reuters

Border controls have been tightened in Austria as authorities try to clamp down on human trafficking.

The interior ministry said tougher checks were being put in place at eastern borders after 71 migrants were found dead in the back of a lorry abandoned on an Austrian motorway.

Huge queues formed on a Hungarian motorway leading to Austria as the new checks were introduced.

Traffic was jammed for 12 miles on the country's M1, according to local media.

"We will do controls for an undetermined length of time at all important border crossings in the eastern region, looking at all vehicles that have possible hiding places for trafficked people," minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told local radio.


Fifth suspect arrested over Austria lorry deaths

Police discovered the bodies in the back of a lorry in the province of Burgenland on Thursday. Credit: Reuters

A fifth suspect has arrested in connection with the discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants in back of a lorry found abandoned on an Austrian motorway.

The Bulgarian citizen is also under suspicion of human trafficking, Hungarian police said.

Meanwhile, postmortems have been carried out on 16 of the bodies and it is presumed they suffocated, Austrian police said.

"We are still awaiting the final report from the forensic team, but it looks like they have suffocated," said police spokesman Gerald Pangl.

Much more action needed to solve migrant crisis, says UN

A vigil was held for the victims of the Austrian lorry tragedy in Budapest. Credit: Reuters

Governments must do "much more" to solve the migrant crisis, the UN's Secretary-General has said.

Ban Ki-moon said he was "horrified and heartbroken" by the recent deaths, including the "grim" discovery of 71 bodies in a lorry found abandoned on an Austrian motorway.

He said: "I commend those leaders and communities who have stepped up to our shared responsibilities and obligations. But much more is required.

"I appeal to all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.

"Let us do all we can to provide people in the most desperate circumstances with a measure of safety and a sense of hope."

Earlier, Hungarians held a vigil for the victims of the Austrian discovery outside Budapest's main train station, where thousands of migrants have been sheltering for weeks.

'There needs to be political will to end migrant crisis'

The CEO of the Refugee Council has said there "needs to be political will" to end the current forced migration crisis after the last two days saw an abandoned van in Austria discovered with 71 bodies inside and another migrant boat capsize off the coast of Libya .

Describing the events as "shocking" but "hardly surprising" Maurice Wren told ITV News it was the responsibility of EU leaders to create "safe and legal routes for people who are fleeing persecution and harm."

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