PARIS – Seven “terrorists” were killed in attacks that caused the deaths of at least 129 people in Paris and a Syrian passport was found on one of the assailants, the French capital’s prosecutor said Saturday.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said the attackers had worked in three teams, striking seven times in quick succession on Friday night. The prosecutor meanwhile said it was not clear to whom the passport belonged.
“We confirm that the Syrian passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Nikos Toskas, the minister for citizen protection.
French police said the document was found “near the body of one of the attackers” in the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.
European security officials had 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.
A Greek police source on Saturday said Athens had forwarded to French authorities the fingerprints of the passport holder registered on Leros in October, to check whether he was actually involved in Friday’s attacks.
Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had 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.
But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher.
“The opposite is happening. They leave from here and go over there,” he said.
Prime Minister Alexis 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.
Investigators said they found the body of a French national who was known to intelligence services and indicated he was likely one of four men who attacked the Bataclan concert hall late Friday.
They did not give details of his identity or his background.
The network quoted an unidentified source as saying up to three raids were being carried out in the Molenbeek district in connection with the Paris attacks.
Police in the southern region of Bavaria confirmed the arrest on Nov. 5 during a routine check on a motorway, saying “many machine guns, revolvers and explosives” were found in the vehicle of the suspect.
“I would like to make this urgent plea to avoid drawing such swift links to the situation surrounding refugees,” Thomas de Maiziere said, noting that there have already been “appalling scales of attacks against asylum seekers and asylum seeker shelters.”
Germany is expecting up to one million asylum seekers this year, but the influx has also exposed faultlines in the country, with a spate of arson attacks on refugee shelters.
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