50 suspected ISIS fighters have recently arrived in Italy via boat, and may be trying to reach other EU countries, according to intelligence from Interpol.
The suspects, all Tunisian nationals, are believed to have arrived in Sicily over the summer and represent a small portion of the 5,500 Tunisians who travelled to Iraq or Syria to fight for ISIS.
According to the document, 4 of the suspects are known to European intelligence agencies and one “may have already crossed the Italian-French border, to reach Gard, a department in southern France, in the Occitanie region”.
The Guardian reports that many Tunisians land along the Italian coast at night in small groups of 20 or 30 people, before disappearing into the countryside. Local authorities estimate more than 3,000 of them may have landed on the coast of Agrigento since July.
A prosecutor in Agrigent, Salvatore Vella, said: “We do not know what they were doing before they got here, we do not really know who they are and where they were before they arrived in Sicily.
“Certainly there are those who do not want to be identified. They do not want their prints to be recorded…For this reason, if you are a terrorist, illegally landing in Agrigento is the safest way to get to Europe.”
On the 19th December 2016, Tunisian-born Anis Amri ploughed a stolen truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring a further 56. Amri fled the scene and was able to travel through the Netherlands, Belgium and France before being shot dead in Italy. It would later emerge that he arrived in Europe on the Italian island of Lampedusa and claimed to be a child refugee.
The Italian Interior Ministry said in a statement that “a few numbers of suspected Tunisian terrorists have been identified and sent back with the help of the Tunisian government”.
Figures released by the ministry revealed that the country has deported 2,193 Tunisians so far on the grounds they are economic migrants and thus not eligible for protected refugee status. Such deportations cost the Italian taxpayer €3.5m a year.
The EU open border system is just an open gateway for jihadis to access Europe…