A manhunt is reportedly under way in Germany targeting 12 people who used fake Syrian passports to gain entry to the country before disappearing.
German news outlets say the fake Syrian passports were most likely taken by Islamic State (IS) operatives when the terrorist group captured the Syrian city of Raqqa — now the de facto IS capital — in 2013, reports The Independent. The German tabloid, Bild, says the stolen documents were provided to migrants by the same suppliers used by two of the Paris attackers.
The manhunt is far from unique in Germany. According to one government official the country is “seeing a loss of around 30 per cent of the refugees,” although he concedes that may not be the real total, admitting: “We don’t have the exact numbers. We don’t even know if they’re still in Germany.”
The latest manhunt follows last week’s arrests in neighbouring Austria of two people “on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organisation”. Those arrested at a refugee shelter in Salzburg were suspected of having links to the Paris attacks.
The Kronen-Zeitung daily reported that the two men are French, though of Algerian and Pakistani origin, and entered Austria from the Balkans in October together with members of the cell who carried out the November 13 attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people. Fox News reported the arrested men had bragged to other migrants and humanitarian volunteers about having been on the battlefield with IS.
Still now at least two of those suspected of carrying out or in some way playing a role in the attack on the French capital remain on the run from police and security services, namely 26-year-old Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam (pictured above) who is thought to have played a key logistical role, and 30-year-old Mohamed Abrini.