'IS holding 11,100 blank Syrian passports,' Germany claims

'IS holding 11,100 blank Syrian passports,' Germany claims
Thousands passports checked by German migration authorities in 2016 turned out to be fakes, leading to fears of IS militants could be issued fake IDs to carry out attacks.
2 min read
10 September, 2017
Syrian passports [AFP]

The Islamic State group holds some 11,100 blank Syrian passports that can be completed with any individual's details, German authorities say.

Investigators have gathered a list of serial numbers of the blank passports and the authorities that issued them, weekly German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday, citing confidential documents from federal police and the interior ministry.

The stolen passports are genuine identity papers that have been left blank allowing them to be filled out with details of by forgers.

In total, German security services are aware of around 18,002 blank Syrian passports stolen from Syrian government sites, including thousands held by various groups other than IS.

"Developments in connection with the refugee situation have shown that terrorist organisations are using the opportunity to infiltrate potential attackers or supporters into Europe and Germany undetected," a spokeswoman for the BKA federal criminal police told Bild am Sonntag.

IS militants behind the November 2015 Paris attacks - which claimed 130 lives - were found to have used fake Syrian passports.

However, the spokeswoman said that fake passports are more often used for illegal entry into a country rather than carrying out attacks.

Some 8,625 passports checked by German migration authorities in 2016 turned out to be fakes according to the documents seen by Bild am Sonntag.

The files provided no information on how many of the passports were among those that had passed through IS' hands.​