A Bosnian-born Swede who was arrested in northern Greece last week on suspicion of attempting to reach Syria to join ISIS jihadists had been listed on the Schengen Information System as a potential terrorist suspect but Swedish authorities failed to alert their European counterparts of his departure from their territory, sources told Kathimerini on Monday.
Mirsad Bektasevic, 29, was arrested in Evros along with an unidentified Swedish-Yemeni man, aged 20, after police found two long knives, a rifle holster and military uniforms in their possession.
Bektasevic had also been arrested in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on terrorist charges in 2005 and, according to The Associated Press, was known to have links to al-Qaida and the group’s leader in Iraq. He served the initial part of his 14-year sentence in Bosnia and was then transferred to Sweden, where he was released in 2011.
He has been arrested several times since, including for illegal weapons possession.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi Kurd arrested at Athens Airport upon his return from Istanbul, was carrying a passport that was among a batch of travel documents stolen by ISIS fighters in Iraq’s Nineveh province.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Greece, told police he had been sent the passport by a cousin in Iraq as he himself was banned from traveling abroad after being convicted in 2008 by a Greek court for migrant smuggling. He claimed his trip to Turkey was business-related.