Up to 70 suspected radical Islamists have had their security passes revoked at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports in wake of the terrorists attacks on the French capital last month which killed 130 people.
The contents of around 4,000 workers’ lockers at both airports have been examined by authorities as they attempt to weed out any potential terrorists working at the busy transport hubs. Security agents confirmed security clearance badges had been revoked “mainly for cases of radicalisation” and Islamic extremism.
The news comes just weeks after Breitbart London reported that suspected Islamists in Belgium were sacked by the Brussels public transport company as they reportedly “posed a danger as extremist Muslim activists.”
French security sources have said that Islamist militants killed in a police raid in a Paris suburb five days after the November 13 attacks were planning to attack Charles de Gaulle, France’s biggest international airport.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the radicalisation of airport personnel sparked concern after the crash in October of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt which Western intelligence officials believe was brought down by a bomb smuggled on board by an airport worker.
The Metrojet airliner exploded over Egypt’s Sinai desert in October, killing all 224 people onboard.
Augustin de Romanet, chief executive officer of ADP, the company that runs the two Paris airports, revealed that the state authority which issues security passes had carried out a screening after the attacks on Paris.
“Nearly 70 red badges were withdrawn after the attacks, mainly for cases of radicalisation,” he said in an interview with French media.
Mr. de Romanet said around 85,000 people had secure-zone clearance in the two airports, most of them working for airlines or for several hundred subcontractors.
So-called red badges are issued to people employed in the secure zone of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, working for instance as baggage handlers, aircraft cleaners and suppliers.
“To be issued with a red badge, you have to be cleared by police, and if you work for a company that carries out security checks of in-flight luggage, you need three police checks,” Mr. De Romanet said.
He added that deployment of military personnel at the two airports had been boosted by half following the attacks and passport officers were checking the IDs of all people leaving the country, “including flights in the Schengen zone,” the European Union’s border-free area.
Air traffic was down five per cent compared with a year earlier, Mr. De Romanet said.
“I hope we will return to a more normal level of traffic. It has been a heavy blow,” he added.
Security has been heightened in airports across Europe following the atrocities in Paris, in which terrorists targeted four restaurants, the packed Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France on November 13.