False terror alarm over job seekers

PAPHOS (AP) – Five Pakistani students arrested for suspicious behavior at the airport of this tourist resort were released yesterday after investigations cleared them of any terrorist activity, police said. A police statement said four of the students will be deported, as they had never attended classes at the college where they had registered. The fifth, who did attend classes, will be allowed to remain on the island. The five were arrested on Saturday, when police said they had been loitering near the airport and were suspected «of conspiring to commit a possible terrorist act.» The island’s two civilian airports, at Paphos and Larnaca, are on maximum alert during the holiday period following an Interpol warning of possible terrorist attacks. A local court ordered the Pakistanis detained on Sunday and they were expected to reappear in court yesterday to be formally charged, but police announced they had been released after investigations. The five initially told police they were at the airport to welcome a Pakistani friend, but Deputy Police Chief Sotiris Charalambous said the flight they referred to did not exist. Following intensive interrogation, the five admitted that they were near the airport looking for employment at farms in the vicinity. They lied to the police at first, fearing they would be deported if they admitted they were looking for work, which is forbidden under their student resident status, Charalambous said.