At least one man linked to Paris at­tacks reg­is­tered as refugee

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ATHENS: Greek po­lice on Satur­day said at least one man with a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion to the Paris at­tacks had reg­is­tered as a refugee with Greek au­thor­i­ties ear­lier this year. French au­thor­i­ties had asked their Greek coun­ter­parts to check the fin­ger­prints of one man who died in the at­tacks, with a Syr­ian pass­port found next to him, in ad­di­tion to the fin­ger­prints of an­other man.

There were ef­forts to es­tab­lish whether both had reg­is­tered in Greece, the main en­try point into Europe for Syr­ian refugees. The Greek min­is­ter for cit­i­zen pro­tec­tion, Nikos Toskas, said one of the men had been reg­is­tered on the Greek is­land of Leros in Oc­to­ber. “We con­firm that the (Syr­ian) pass­port holder came through the Greek is­land of Leros on Oc­to­ber 3 where he was reg­is­tered un­der EU rules,” he said a state­ment.

French po­lice said the pass­port was found “near the body of one of the at­tack­ers” dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the main site of Fri­day’s car­nage, at the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall where 89 peo­ple were killed. The au­then­tic­ity of the pass­port was be­ing checked, but its dis­cov­ery in­di­cates a pos­si­ble Syr­ian con­nec­tion in Fri­day night’s violence, which also saw three sui­cide blasts out­side the Stade de France and gun at­tacks on restau­rants and cafes in Paris.

Greek po­lice are not rul­ing out that the Syr­ian pass­port changed hands be­fore the at­tacks. Separately, a Greek po­lice source said they had not yet matched the sec­ond per­son to refugee ap­pli­ca­tion records. This con­tra­dicted ear­lier in­for­ma­tion from a Greek po­lice source who said the sec­ond man had also reg­is­tered in Greece, with TV sta­tion Mega adding this was also on Leros in Au­gust.

Euro­pean se­cu­rity of­fi­cials have long feared that ji­hadists could take ad­van­tage of the mass mi­gra­tion in­flux, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing since the be­gin­ning of the year.

“It is clear now that to­gether with the vic­tims of Is­lamo-fas­cism in the Mid­dle East that come as refugees, ex­treme el­e­ments are cross­ing to Europe,” De­fence Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos said af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras.

Greece’s ju­nior min­is­ter for mi­gra­tion Yian­nis Mouza­las ad­mit­ted in Septem­ber that it would be “fool­ish” to com­pletely dis­count the pos­si­bil­ity of ji­hadists sneak­ing into Europe among the refugee wave. Over 800,000 peo­ple have crossed the Mediter­ranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dy­ing in the process.

Tsipras on Satur­day in­sisted that the refugees flee­ing Syria “are hunted by the same ter­ror­ists” that struck in Paris on Fri­day. “We must find so­lu­tions to the drama of the peo­ple who leave their homes, hunted by the same ter­ror­ists, and drown in the Mediter­ranean,” Tsipras said in a tele­vised ad­dress. —AFP

A mother hugs her chil­dren af­ter they dis­em­barked from a boat on the Greek is­land of Lesbos af­ter cross­ing the Aegean Sea from Tur­key yes­ter­day. —AFP

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