Roundup: NZ terror suspect visits Greece in 2016: police

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ATHENS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The suspect in last Friday's terrorist mosque attacks in New Zealand, which resulted in 50 casualties, had visited Greece in 2016, Greek national news agency AMNA reported Sunday, citing police.

Greek authorities confirmed earlier local media reports that 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant also spent some time in Greece during his travels in the wider region.

According to Greek police, Tarrant arrived at Athens airport from Istanbul, Turkey on March 20, 2016 and visited Heraklion port city on Crete island and Santorini island in the Aegean Sea.

Also, he was on transit flights in Greece on Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, the same year, according to a police statement. In that case, Tarrant flew to Bucharest, Romania from Cairo, Egypt through Athens and returned to Cairo, police sources added.

Greek authorities are investigating his moves during his stay in Greece, which, according to the same sources, lasted two weeks.

Two words written among others on his weapons sounded the alarm for Greek authorities as well. Tarrant had written the Greek word "Turkofagos" in Latin characters which means "Turk eater". It was the nickname of Nikitaras, one of the leaders of the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman rule in the 19th century.

According to reports so far, Tarrant had also written the names of other European military leaders who also fought against the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The second word which is a reference to Greek history is the word "Lepanto" which is the name Venetian rulers had given to the Greek town of Nafpaktos in the 15th century, before the region fell under the control of the Ottomans.

The Ottoman fleet had a big naval station in Nafpaktos, which is located about 170 km northwest of Athens. In 1571 the historical naval battle of Lepanto took place in the area, and Western forces defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire. Enditem

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