A US TV channel has revealed that there are terrorist networks in European countries that smuggle ISIS members from the Middle East.
One of the network’s centers is Athens, Greece, the channel said.
Anchor and Managing Editor at CBS News Norah O’Donnellhas conducted a video investigation into her efforts to uncover terrorist smuggling networks to Europe.
After visiting areas in Syria, Iraq and Turkey, she headed towards Greece, where she met in Athens a person called “Alrayes,” who comes from North Africa and runs a smuggling syndicate, moving people from Athens to western Europe for around $8,000 each.
“Human smuggling is a big business in Athens and CBS News has found evidence that ISIS members are being moved through Greece to the rest of Europe,” O’Donnell said.
In central Athens, an area around Omonia Square is notorious as a center of criminal activity where human smuggling gangs operate, she reported.
She filmed with a hidden camera and claimed she was an ISIS wife, who wanted safe passage to her home country, Germany.
“From Athens, you go to Italy, and you arrive there in Italy. I have people will help you with everything. It's very easy,” Alrayes told her.
He said his usual customers are migrants and refugees, adding that hundreds of thousands have come to Greece from the Middle East, many making the crossing by boat from Turkey, Cyprus or small islands scattered in the Adriatic Sea.
“They're dreaming of a better life in western Europe, he noted.
He even bragged that he'd smuggled three brothers of notorious al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, O’Donnell said, stressing that this cannot be confirmed.
The smugglers use stolen identity documents, she said, adding that she went undercover, posing as a smuggler, and found criminals with hundreds of them for sale in Athens, including US passports.
“Alrayes and other smugglers try to match their customers with an ID photo they resemble.”
Then, smugglers use the stolen documents to fly people from Athens to Spain or Italy, where they claim security is lax.
From there, they can travel anywhere in western Europe with no border checks.
According to the TV channel, the Greek police are targeting human smugglers and have made arrests.
Several members of the ISIS terror cell, who carried out attacks in France and Belgium, came through Greece.