NEWS

Jihadist suspect slips through Greek police fingers

A French national wanted on an international arrest warrant on suspicion of links with Islamic State jihadists managed to elude authorities after being briefly detained in Athens in January in the wake of a major anti-terror operation in eastern Belgium, a Greek Police source has told Kathimerini.

The suspect, believed to be linked to a group that had been planning multiple terrorist attacks in Belgium, was one of two men apprehended in Pangrati, central Athens, after Belgian police traced cell phone calls made by one of their suspects to a Greek number.

The calls were made to a telephone registered in the name of 33-year-old Omar Damash, one of the two suspects in the Pangrati apartment, who was subsequently extradited to Belgium. The second man was held for 24 hours after being remanded and released as there was no evidence to keep him longer. A few days later, however, French authorities contacted their Greek counterparts demanding his arrest after identifying him from fingerprints taken in Athens.

“As was expected, when we looked for him at his apartment in Pangrati he had gone,” a Greek Police official told Kathimerini.

French authorities suspect that he may have worked as a recruiter for Islamic State in France.