NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Monday, November 16, 2015, 12:31 AM
A passport possibly used by one of the Paris attackers is pictured.
A suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Paris attacks is suspected of reaching France by traveling with the flood of largely untraceable asylum-seekers fleeing Syria.
As officials sought to confirm the legitimacy of the Syrian passport found near the body of the terrorist, American politicians called for aggressive measures to keep refugees fleeing the bloodshed in the Middle East out of Europe.
Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush went so far as to say Christians in Syria deserve special treatment.
“I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think our focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore,” Bush said on “Meet the Press,” proposing that the U.S. and other allies create safe havens for civilians within the war-torn country.
The attacker’s possible passport was found at France’s national stadium, next to the body of one of three suicide bombers who blew themselves up nearby.
Thousands of people gather oustide Notre Dame Cathedral during a mass in Paris, France, 15 November 2015.
The document was registered in October in Serbia and Croatia, two of the countries on the corridor crossing the Balkans.
Front page of the New York Daily News for November 15, 2015 about terror attacks in Paris.
Its owner was allowed to proceed because he passed what is essentially the only test in place — he had no international arrest warrant against him, police in both countries said Sunday.
In Serbia, some 490,000 migrants have passed through this year, and many say they don’t have documents — making it impossible to check for terrorist connections or criminal histories to verify their backgrounds, Serbian officials said Sunday.
“No one can know for certain where they come from, their true identity or if their documents are genuine,” Serbian Labor Minister Aleksandar Vulin said. “The Paris suspects have not been registered anywhere as terrorists, so Serbia could not have known that they represent a danger.”
French police officers take position on Place de la Republique (Republic Square), after allegedly false alert sparked mass panic amongst the gathered crowd in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.
The holder of the passport is registered as entering Greece on Oct. 3, Greek officials said.
They added that the passport owner entered the country through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands have been using as a gateway into the European Union.
The owner of the passport then formally requested asylum in Serbia on Oct. 7, according to a Serbian police statement. The document allowed him three days to pass through the country on his way to Croatia.
Police did not give a name, identifying the passport’s owner only as A.A.
Roses are placed in the bullet holes in the terrace window of the Carillon restaurant in Paris, France.
The passport holder entered Croatia from Serbia on Oct. 8, Croatian police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said Sunday. The owner was not flagged as suspicious and then proceeded to Hungary and Austria.
The so-called Balkan corridor for migrants — Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia — has a reputation for lax security measures and easy-to-obtain travel documents.
Most who pass through those countries are registered with authorities. Their data are checked against Interpol records, and their fingerprints and photos are taken.
But many people tell officials that they’ve lost their identity papers, and they can give false names and other information, including their country of origin.
A majority of migrants declare themselves as Syrians, although they have no documents to prove it, Serbian police say. Syrian refugees have a better chance of getting asylum in Germany than those classified as economic migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan.
Ewa Moncure, the spokeswoman for the European Union border agency Frontex, conceded that “among some 500,000 people, you will find some with false documents.”
There is always a certain percentage of false Syrian passports and identity documents revealed on the Greek border,” she said.
Authorities have said three teams of attackers were involved in the gun and bomb attacks on the stadium, a concert hall and Paris restaurants that killed 129 people.
Police in France are searching for Salah Abdeslam who they suspect was involved with Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015.
A manhunt was ongoing for men suspected of helping facilitate the attacks.
The intersection of the migrant crisis and terrorism led other GOP candidates on the campaign trail to slam President Obama’s plan to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees.
“President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America: It is nothing less than lunacy,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News from his “rally for religious liberty” in Greenville, S.C.
But White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama is moving forward with his plan.
“There are women and children, orphans of this war, and I think we need to do our part along with our allies to provide them a safe haven,” Rhodes said.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, however, pulled the brakes on his plans to bring some of the Syrian refugees to his state.
“Given the terrible situation in Paris, I’ve directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review,” Snyder said.
With News Wire Services