At least three of the men involved in the Brussels terror attacks on March 22 had passed through the island of Leros and Athens, authorities said, confirming foreign medias reports last week.
Two of the men had returned to Europe from Syria through Leros on September 20 while the third flew into Greece from Italy on July 23. Their presence in Greece was confirmed following an investigation conducted by Greek authorities at the request of their Belgian counterparts.
According to reports, the two men that came through Leros, Naim Al Hamed and Sofiane Ayari, used Syrian passports and were accomplices of Salah Abdeslam – in custody in Belgium for his role in the Paris attacks last November.
The third man, Khalid el Bakraoui, who blew himself up in the Brussels metro, had flown to Greece from Italy using Belgium travel documents in July but failed to raise suspicions of authorities in either country.
Ayari was arrested on March 18 along with Abdeslam in a counterterrorism raid in the Molenbek suburb of Brussels while Al Hamed was involved in both attacks at Brussels metro and airport.
Greek police sources said that Ayari and Al Hamed had traveled by ferry to Piraeus from Leros before moving on to Central and Western Europe.
A similar route was taken in October by terrorists involved in the November 13 Paris attacks. At least one of the terrorists who blew themselves up outside the Stade de France had arrived on Leros from the Turkish coast on October 3. Two of his accomplices who arrived on Leros on the same day were later arrested on December 10 in Salzburg because of their links to the terrorists that attacked Paris.