Greek authorities have sent France’s General Directorate for External Security fingerprints, photographs and other data pertaining to 180,000 refugees and migrants who passed through Greece in the period between August 1 and November 12, 2015, just before a deadly terrorist attack in Paris that claimed 130 lives and left 700 people injured.
The data were sent following a request by French authorities investigating the multiple assault of November 13, 2015, which was later claimed by the so-called Islamic State, to ascertain whether the perpetrators or their accomplices entered Europe via Greece and the Balkan route.
Greek authorities have also received requests for assistance in the investigation into the March 2016 attack in Brussels.
Investigators in both cases found compelling evidence just a few days after the attacks to suggest that the perpetrators had entered Europe through the Greek island of Leros by posing as refugees, leading authorities to believe that more Islamic State fighters have used the same or similar methods of entry.
One such confirmed case is a man identified only as Bilal C., who was arrested in Germany and found to be connected to the mastermind of the Paris 2015 attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. The German press has revealed that Bilal C. entered Greece in the summer of 2015, before heading deeper into Europe along the Balkan route in order to prepare the ground for the IS fighters that came after him.