A German news source reported Sunday that Islamic State militants may have stolen “tens of thousands” of blank passports that they can use to smuggle terrorists into Western Europe posing as refugees.
The terrorists may have acquired the documents from some of the territory the Islamic State now controls in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported.
The French news agency AFP reported:
Moreover IS has already launched a money-spinning operation with the fake documents, selling them on the black market where they fetch up to 1,500 euros ($1,630) each, Welt said.
European authorities have repeatedly warned of the potential threat posed by refugees travelling with counterfeit documents.
The two unidentified Stade de France attackers in Paris have been tracked back to two fake Syrian passports used to enter Europe.
“The large influx of people who are traveling to Europe unchecked represents a security risk,” the head of EU border agency Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, told Welt.
He added that there’s no way to confirm “that documents that look real were actually issued by an official authority” when they come from areas such as Syria or Iraq.
The German foreign minister was in agreement.
“In light of the large number of entering migrants, it cannot be ruled out that among them are for example, criminals, war criminals, members of militant groups or terror organisations. or individuals with extremist views,” a spokesman told AFP.
“At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that these people are carrying fake documents.”
The International Business Times reported:
More than a million refugees and migrants have entered the European Union this year, the International Organisation for Migration said earlier in December. In the wake of the Paris attacks, two Frenchmen with Syrian passports were arrested at a refugee camp near Salzburg in Austria, allegedly planning terror attacks. A man suspected of having ties with IS was arrested at a refugee camp in Unna Massen, in western Germany.
Last month, President Barack Obama asked Americans to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees, likening them to the pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower.
After the December 2 attack in San Bernardino by a husband and wife team of jihadists, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary halt of Muslim immigration.
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