A Syrian who apparently passed through Greece as a refugee last month, a known French extremist and an Egyptian were said to be among a cell of eight Islamist gunmen who killed nearly 130 people in a bloody wave of suicide bombings and shootings that left France reeling. Islamic State on Saturday claimed responsibility for the atrocities, which the French president, François Hollande, denounced as an “act of war” that must be countered “mercilessly”.
French authorities said at least 128 people were killed and up to 300 more injured – including 80 critically – in the six attacks, France’s deadliest since the second world war and the worst witnessed in Europe since the 2004 Madrid railway bombings. As police worked to identify the eight militants, all of whom died in the attacks, it emerged that at least one of the fighters, identified by his fingerprints, was a French national with known links to Islamist networks from the southern Parissuburb of Courcoronnes.
Investigators also told French media a Syrian passport, belonging to a man born in 1970, and an Egyptian passport had been found lying close by the bodies of two other jihadis, both of whom blew themselves up in the course of their attacks.
Greece’s citizen protection minister, Nikos Toskas, said separately that the owner of the Syrian passport had entered the European Union through the Greek island of Leros on 3 October, adding: “We do not know if the passport was checked by other countries through which the holder likely passed.”
As Europe struggles to contain an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants, the revelation that one of the Paris killers may have travelled the refugee route, been registered in Greece in accordance with EU rules, and managed to make his way northwards to join what unconfirmed reports suggested was effectively an independent jihadi cell could prove deeply damaging.
Ya think? France has now closed its borders; look for other European states to follow — except of course Germany, where Mutti Merkel is hell-bent on destroying the Bundesrepublik once and for all.