Ji­hadis us­ing cruise ships for travel to avoid surveil­lance at air­ports

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - WORLD -

LONDON: Would-be ji­hadi fight­ers are book­ing tick­ets on cruise ships to join ex­trem­ists in bat­tle zones in Syria and Iraq in an at­tempt to by­pass ef­forts to stop them in neigh­bour­ing Turkey, In­ter­pol of­fi­cials have said.

The in­ter na­tional po­lice body is pre­par­ing to ex­pand a pi­lot pro­gramme known as I-Checkit, un­der which air­lines bounce pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion off In­ter­pol’s data­bases in the hope that the sys­tem could be ex­panded to in­clude cruise op­er­a­tors, banks and ho­tels.

Turkey, with its long and of­ten por­ous bor­der with Syria, has been a ma­jor thor­ough­fare for many of the thou­sands of for­eign fight­ers seek­ing to join ex­trem­ists in­clud­ing Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIS), which has cap­tured ter­ri­tory across Iraq and Syria.

Speak­ing this week at In­ter­pol’s gen­eral assem­bly in Monaco, out­go­ing chief, Ron­ald Noble, con­firmed that Turkey was a des­ti­na­tion, but de­clined to iden­tify other coun­tries. He also re­fused to in­di­cate how many peo­ple might be in­volved, but called on coun­tries to step up screen­ing at all trans­porta­tion hubs “air­ports and, more and more, cruise lines”.

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties say they have set up teams to in­ter­cept sus­pected for­eign fight­ers in air­ports and bus sta­tions.

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