Scottish Daily Mail
THE DEADLY BLUNDERS
Police and security services were accused last night of a string of appalling blunders over the Paris massacres.
As mourners paid tribute to the 129 victims of France’s ‘9/11’, it emerged that:
Police stopped one of the gunmen hours after the bloodbath but let him go;
One of the suspected suicide bombers had travelled to France from Greece posing as a Syrian refugee;
Authorities in the Greek islands admitted that every refugee is given onward travel documents;
German police failed to tell French counterparts they had seized a Parisbound car laden with weapons.
The man let go by police, Saleh Abdeslam, is now the subject of an inter- national manhunt. He is one of three Belgian-based brothers all thought to be part of the Islamic State terror gang.
One detonated a suicide vest in central Paris and another is in custody.
Abdeslam was one of three people in a car stopped by police near the Belgian border hours after Friday night’s attacks. Even though he was already known to be a suspect, officers checked his identity and let him go.
David Cameron will today respond to the raised threat by promising extra money for anti-terrorist spies and aviation security.
And France last night carried out instant retribution by launching its biggest air strike yet on IS in Syria. The raid by ten fighter jets saw 20 bombs dropped on a command centre, training camp and munitions depot in the terror group’s stronghold of Raqqa.
But the shocking ease with which its
‘We didn’t label him
followers were able to travel across Europe has sparked a renewed debate about the European Union’s open borders policy.
The suspected suicide bomber reached Greece after crossing the Aegean from Turkey on a raft with 198 migrants. The 25-year-old claimed asylum last month on the tiny island of Leros using a suspected fake passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad.
He was arrested but later released and given papers that allowed him to travel to Athens and mainland Europe because officials believed he was a genuine refugee.
He was allowed to travel through the Balkans, passing through checkpoints in Serbia and Croatia, before heading for Northern Europe. Greece identified him after the passport he used was found near the body of one of the gang near the Stade de France attack site.
The French have not confirmed the refugee connection but Greece’s migration minister, Yannis Mouzalas, last night said ‘Almohammad’ was presumed to be a terrorist.
More than 500 people are landing on a daily basis on Leros, which is just seven miles from Turkey. But officials last night admitted the handing out of travel documents mean ‘every- one’ is able to pass on to Athens regardless of whether they are a genuine refugee.
Greece said the man using the Syrian passport in the name of Almohammad arrived with a boatload of migrants on 3 October.
They released a mugshot of the man that was taken as he registered with guards on the quayside, claiming he was a refugee.
Authorities arrested him – as is routine for all arrivals – but the next day he was told he would not be prosecuted and handed papers that allowed him to book a ferry ticket to Athens before continuing his journey through the Balkans. He was stopped in both Serbia and Croatia, but was allowed to continue unimpeded because officials said they had no reason to suspect him.
A spokesman for the Croatian interior ministry said: ‘There was no record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him. We did not label him as potentially suspicious.’
The Serbians said they found no record of any Interpol warrant in his name, so did not detain him. Last night the mayor of Leros warned the whole of Europe should be fearful about the possibility of more atrocities being conducted by jihadists entering the continent among the crowds of migrants.
Mihalis Kolias told the Mail: ‘It’s more than dangerous for all of Europe. So many people are passing through our island and now we know amongst them are terrorists. This is a big problem for Europe. We must have more security.’
Each week thousands of refugees land on neighbouring Farmakonisi before they are picked up by the Greek coastguard and taken to the largest town on Leros, Lakki.
Humanitarian aid workers and island officials last night confirmed every arrival was given documents permitting onward travel no matter what their circumstances.
When asked how many of the migrants coming to the island are issued the papers, Mr Kolias said: ‘Everyone.’
He said people believed to be from Syria are given documents allowing them to travel through Greece for six months, while others who would not be expected to get asylum if they applied, get papers for 30 days.
A humanitarian worker volunteering in the camp next to the quay in Lakki replied ‘That does not happen’ when asked whether refugees were ever refused papers.
A group of around 40 people claiming to have fled from Afghanistan were last night due to leave the island on a ferry for Athens despite not being able to prove where they came from.
One of the men said they had received travel permits despite not having identification such as passports.
Mr Kolias said there has been a ‘minimum of 500’ people coming daily to the island, which has a population of 8,000.
Last week a strike by ferry workers meant more than 4,000 migrants were camped in Lakki.