Rejected Twice for Asylum, Illegal Migrant Arrested on ISIS Terror Suspicions

Athens Greece September 12, 2019 View of a Greek police car driving through the streets of Athens in the evening
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Greek police have arrested a 34-year-old Iraqi national who has already been rejected for asylum twice, on suspicion of having ties to the Islamic State.

Police took the Iraqi asylum seeker into custody on Monday in Athens on suspicion of being a member of the Islamic State. He was said to be living with his wife and four children at the time of his arrest in the suburb of Patissia.

According to a report from the newspaper Proto Thema, prosecutors charged the man on Tuesday afternoon with being a member of a terrorist group.

The 34-year-old arrived in Greece illegally through Turkey in 2017 along with his wife, taking a sea route to the island of Lesbos. He eventually settled in Athens where he has been working in a shop for a Pakistani national.

Despite applying for asylum twice, he was rejected for refugee status on both attempts but was allowed to remain in Greece after appealing the rejections on humanitarian grounds.

The arrest of the Iraqi came after foreign intelligence agencies were able to identify him in videos from 2014 to 2015 that showed him holding a Kalashnikov rifle and praising the Islamic State.

Greek counter-terrorism units then moved in to arrest the Iraqi at his apartment and have confiscated various items such as his mobile phone for further analysis.

The arrest is just the latest in the last year of a migrant with suspected ties to the Islamic State in Greece.

In November of last year, a man from Tajikistan was taken into custody in Tripoli after being wanted on an international arrest warrant on suspicion of being a high ranking Islamic State militant in his home country.

In July, a Moroccan was arrested in Thessaloniki, also on suspicion of being a member of the terrorist group.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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