The number of illegal migrants that entered Greece in 2010 has increased, compared with 2009, according to Greek Police (EL.AS) official figures, it was announced on Wednesday.

The specific conclusion was reached after taking into account the illegal migrant interceptions conducted by police and the Coast Guard during the past year.

A total of 132,524 illegal migrants were arrested in 2010 compared with 126,145 in 2009, while 1,150 migrant smugglers were arrested in 2010 and 1,716 in 2009.

According to the police, the overwhelming majority of the illegal migrants crossed into Greece from the land borders with Turkey in the northeast, as opposed to previous years when most of the illegal migrants preferred the Aegean Sea islands.

Of the 132,524 illegal migrants intercepted in 2010, 47,088 crossed the land borders with Turkey and 6,204 crossed the sea borders with Turkey.

As regards their countries of origin, 50,175 were from Albania, the others hailed from Afghanistan (28,299), Pakistan (8,830), the Palestinian territories (7,561), Algeria (7,336), Somalia (6,525), Iraq (4,968), Bangladesh (3,264), Morocco (1,645), Eritrea (1,628), Georgia (1,456) and Iran (1,133).

The majority of the migrant smugglers arrested (363) were Albanians, followed by Greek nationals (183). They were also Iranians, Turks, Bulgarians, Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis.