Europol, the European police agency, discovered fake passports in refugee camps in Greece for use by alleged members of the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL), The Telegraph reported.
The documents were reportedly discovered during an investigation into how fake papers are used to smuggle people into Europe across four countries: Iraq, Syria, Greece and Austria.
“In particular they have identified fake passports in the refugee camps in Greece that were destined to supposed members of ISIS (ISIL),” Italian daily La Stampa reported.
The Islamic State previously boasted about smuggling fighters into Europe. A Syrian ISIS operative, who spoke to the Express in November 2015 with permission from his superiors in the organization, told the paper some 4,000 jihadists were smuggled into Europe disguised as refugees.
That claim was not independently verified.
Senior European intelligence officials warned there are ISIS sleeper cells in Europe, however.
“The risk is abstract but very high that we have hit squads and sleeper cells in Germany,” the deputy head of the Bavarian intelligence agency Manfred Hauser told the BBC earlier in August. “We have clear signs that an IS command structure exists. There may be someone within it who is responsible for planning attacks in Germany.”
In March, NATO’s top commander U.S. General Philip Breedlove went further, warning the Senate armed services committee that ISIS was “spreading like a cancer” among refugees, according to The Guardian. He said the group is “taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own.”
Yet German Chancellor Angela Merkel downplayed the risk posed by refugees. “Islamist terrorism … is not a phenomenon that came to us with the refugees, it is one that we had before, too,” she said last week in response to a question at an event in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to The Times.