PARIS (Reuters) - France has asked the European Union to improve the detection of fake Syrian passports used by people trying to get into Europe after two of the suicide bombers in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks were found carrying such passports.
In a letter to the European Commission, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called on the EU to tighten security by improving the quality of equipment used to check travel documents at external borders, notably in Greece and Italy.
Blank passports were in circulation that had been stolen from administrative facilities in places run by the Islamic State. Once an identity had been added to them they were very hard to detect, he said in his letter, text of which was seen by Reuters.
“The checks of travel documents presented by refugees at the external borders of the EU are an extremely significant and worrying issue,” he wrote.
Two of the suicide bombers who detonated explosives outside the Stade de France stadium in the November attacks, which killed 130 people, were carrying false Syrian passports they had shown in Greece when entering the EU on Oct. 3, Cazeneuve said.
The attacks “unfortunately showed that some terrorists intend to get into our countries and commit criminal acts by joining the flow of migrants and refugees,” he added.
A French interior ministry source said it was hoped Cazeneuve’s proposals could be discussed by EU justice and interior ministers next month.
Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Richard Balmforth