Passport linked to terrorist complicates Syrian refugee crisis

Updated 12:24 PM EST, Sun November 15, 2015
People gather at a makeshift memorial in front of "Le carillon" restaurant on November 16, 2015, in the 10th district of Paris, following a series of coordinated terrorists attacks on November 13. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 128 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD        (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images
People gather at a makeshift memorial in front of "Le carillon" restaurant on November 16, 2015, in the 10th district of Paris, following a series of coordinated terrorists attacks on November 13. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 128 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

Passport revelation has made the Syrian war refugee situation more complicated

Terrorist entered Europe in Greece, embedded with refugees, French senator says

Paris CNN —  

The Syrian refugee crisis just got worse, due to the Paris attacks.

Now more than ever, since the Syrian war began 4½ years ago, the crisis can be summed up as damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

What made it worse? Sunday’s revelation that at least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 120 people on Friday entered Europe as just another face in the crowd – embedded in the current wave of Syrian war refugees. The development appears likely to fire up the security debate over what to do with them.

2016 hopefuls express alarm over refugees after Paris attacks

More than 4 million refugees have come to Europe since Syrian government forces and rebels started fighting, opening up safe havens for ISIS and pro-ISIS forces.

The immigrant wave into Europe has been reaching new highs and it shows no sign of tapering off.

One of the men who attacked Paris held an emergency passport or similar document, according to an unnamed French senator who was briefed by the French Ministry of the Interior. The senator told CNN the bomber falsely declared himself to be a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad, born on September 10, 1990, and was allowed to enter Greece on October 3. From there he moved to Macedonia, then Serbia and Croatia, where he registered in the Opatovac refugee camp, the lawmaker said. Eventually, he made his way to Paris, where he was one of three men who blew themselves up at the Stade de France.

Crisis in Syria: The refugees

Fingerprints on the passport matched those of the Stade de France bomber, the French senator told CNN.

The fingerprint was not in the French database, the senator said, and therefore officials believe the man was among a group of refugees and migrants.

The two others who detonated themselves at the stadium carried false Turkish passports, the French senator said.

“This is what we had feared,” a senior French official told the Wall Street Journal.

European officials told CNN that they believe a new professional squad of terrorists is inserting itself into some of these migrant voyages.

Terror in Paris: What we know so far

Pope Francis had already thought about this possibility back in September. He told a Portugese radio station, “It’s true, nowadays, territorial security conditions are not the same as they were in other periods (of mass migration). … The truth is that just 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true,” The Telegraph reported.

Shelter the homeless, or protect the host country?

This development will likely intensify a bitter argument. One side believes it’s important to provide shelter to thousands of helpless people who may die if they remain in Syria.

The other side believes letting in Syrian war refugees will put host countries at greater risk for terrorist attacks.

Vetting every incoming refugee would require huge resources. It likely would slow down a widening river of refugees that has already posed logistical problems in many nations. Just look how slowly the European Union is moving on its promise to relocate refugees: As of a few days ago, the EU had only relocated 147 of 160,000.

See U.N. data about the refugee crisis

But the other end of the spectrum, closing borders to Syrian war refugees could force many Syrians to remain at home – exposing them to deadly fighting between anti-government rebels and government forces. Many feel they must leave the region to save their lives.

U.N. convention on treatment of refugees

Closing borders to refugees also may violate international agreements.

The United Nations’$2 1951 Refugee Convention, adopted after World War II, defines what refugees are: those who are seeking refuge from persecution. It also gives them the right to not be sent back home into harm’s way, except under extreme circumstances.

Hungary signed the U.N convention. But refugees who’ve sought refuge there have been subjected to detainment in what migrants and activists have described as dismal conditions as they await transfer. Hungary has erected a fence at its Serbian border to help control the flow of migrants.

To get around Hungary, throngs of refugees traveling through Serbia headed west to Croatia as an alternative route into Western Europe.

So far, Germany has been the most welcoming country, saying it might take in 1 million migrants by the end of the year.

The government has worked to reduce aid to asylum seekers in the country and deport more quickly those who don’t meet the official designation of political refugee.

And in spite of sympathy for refugees from the vast majority of Germans, bands of far-right protesters have shouted hate and venom at arriving refugees, throwing bottles at their buses. Dozens of empty, waiting shelters have been torched by arsonists.

Another wrinkle to this global headache: Keeping borders open to war refugees might encourage more people to take dangerous risks during their journey from Syria to Europe. Many have already drowned during attempts to cross the Mediterranean in makeshift boats.

Then there’s the deadly weather. Winter is coming. Travel will increasingly become a potentially life-threatening choice for many families.

There seem to be no simple solutions to a terribly complicated problem. And it just got a lot worse.

CNN’s Holly Yan and Nick Thompson contributed to this report.