Interpol urges 'extra vigilance' at borders after Abdeslam arrest

19th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Interpol on Saturday urged "extra vigilance at border controls" the day after the arrest of top Paris attacks fugitive Salah Abdeslam in Belgium.

"The capture of the 26-year-old Belgian-born French national... may encourage any accomplices to attempt to flee Europe, or elsewhere," the world police body warned its 190 member countries.

In a statement, Interpol drew particular attention to a blank Syrian passport that was found outside the Stade de France stadium, one of the targets of the November 13 attacks that claimed 130 lives.

The body based in Lyon, France, said the passport had been recorded in Interpol's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database in April 2014, adding that it was part of a batch of 1,452 stolen blank passports.

"An advisory sent to all member countries... recommends enhanced checks at control points, particularly against" the SLTD database, it said.

The SLTD was created in 2002 after the September 11 attacks in the United States.

The database "holds details of some 250,000 stolen and lost Syrian and Iraqi passports, of which more than 190,000 were reported stolen as blank," Interpol said.

"Whilst it is too soon to speculate in which direction the investigation will proceed, anyone linked to Abdeslam will be concerned that their location could be revealed and attempt to run to try and avoid detection," said Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock.

"Belgium is to be congratulated on the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, but this is just one piece in a larger puzzle," he said.

Interpol said its global database on "foreign terrorist fighters" contains information on some 6,000 individuals provided by more than 50 countries.


© 2016 AFP

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