Top Al Qaeda Terrorist Found Hiding Among Boatload of ‘Refugees’
Despite worries that the mass migration of refugees from the Middle East is providing terrorists with a smokescreen for entering Europe, the flood continues and now a convicted terrorist has been apprehended attempting to gain entry by posing as an asylum seeker.
Tunisian Ben Nasr Mehdi was caught trying to re-enter Italy last month, validating the concerns of skeptics of the European Union’s lax policies and enforcement for refugees from the Middle East.
Mehdi was arrested in 2007 after he was found in possession of poison, explosive devices and guerrilla warfare materials. He was convicted of participating in the planning terror attacks with a group linked to ISIS and sentenced to seven years in prison.
This week, Italian authorities found him hiding among 200 refugees who had been taken to the island Lampedusa after being rescued at sea.
The Mediterranean island serves not only as Italy’s immigrant intake center, but the primary European entry point for immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.
Mehdi provided a false name to immigration officials when he was apprehended, but was identified by his fingerprint records. After several days of interrogation, he was turned over to local authorities in Tunisia.
Prosecutors said he had been part of a group that was setting up militant cells that had recruited potential suicide bombers.
European leaders are debating policies to deal with the flood of refugees streaming onto and across the continent while downplaying the threat posed by ISIS and other Islamic militants blending in with legitimate asylum seekers to gain entry.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, told Parliament in an address in April that Islamic terrorists were using the crisis to enter Britain.
“When ISIS says they want to flood our continent with half a million Islamic extremists they mean it, and there is nothing in [the Common European Asylum Policy] that will stop them. I fear we face a direct threat to our civilisation if we allow large numbers of people from that war torn region into Europe.”
In October, German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maziére, went on the record as saying his country had become a “focus of international terrorism” due to the migration. Jens Stoltenberg, the head at NATO, has echoed those concerns.
The Italian government did not immediately announce the arrest and deportation of Mehdi and has been accused of trying to hide the news to avoid panic.