No evidence Paris attack mastermind was ever in Greece, says Greek official
Greece has no evidence that the suspected mastermind of the attacks in Paris, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was ever in the country, a senior interior ministry official said on Thursday.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had earlier said that on Nov. 16, after the Paris attacks, an intelligence service of a non-European country had signaled that Abaaoud had been in Greece.
Abaaoud died in a French police raid on Wednesday.
"There is no evidence, nothing has come up that shows that this person was in Greece," the Greek official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He added that France had not passed on any information to Greece about Abaaoud having been in the country.
Greek authorities raided an apartment in Athens and detained three people in January in connection with a foiled Islamist plot to attack Belgian police. Two of them were released shortly afterwards, while the third, 33-year old Algerian Omar Damash, was extradited to Belgium.
Greek police sources said the arrests were made because the Belgian authorities believed that Abaaoud was calling associates in Belgium from Greece.
But police said they found no evidence linking a mobile phone found in the Athens apartment, nor Damash, to Abaaoud.
"The arrested man was not found to have any relation (with Abaaoud," the interior ministry official said.
Recordings of Abaaoud's voice were checked against the people detained in Greece and the mobile phone and they did not match, he said.