British-born extremists are joining terror cells in Syria by posing as holiday-makers on budget flights to Cyprus.
A report by the UK’s ‘Daily Mail’ claims that there is now a well-trodden path taken by jihadists from Britain to join ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
The report says that they cross over into the TRNC and pay fishermen as much as £1000 to ferry them across to Syria, where they arrive in the middle of night.
Last week, the British government announced that it plans to step up efforts to stop would-be terrorists leaving the UK to join ISIL militants. However, it appears to be relatively simple to make travel arrangements through so-call “ISIS travel agents”.
The report claims that a fixer in North Cyprus makes all the arrangements, communicating by text and only taking cash payments.
Pretending to be tourists, these jihadists fly on budget airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair to South Cyprus. Then they are put up in cheap local accommodation while arrangements are made for their sea crossing from the fishing port of Bogaz.
One boat skipper explained that getting past border control at any stage of the journey is simple – because the jihadists have EU passports.
He said: “They appear just like the tourists who come across the border. There are usually three or four of them at the same time.”
Well-placed sources say as many as 30 people are involved, and after dropping off their terrorist cargo, they then go straight onto fishing, to keep up the pretence that they’re just simple fishermen out working.
According to anti-terrorist police, almost 800 people from the UK have travelled to support ISIL and other terror groups – with half already back in the country.
However, Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood argued almost a year ago that the number, even then, was closer to 2,000.
Security expert George McKillop said: “Those determined enough will always use their ingenuity to find innovative ways to breach controls. As with any form of security, it is essential that every effort is made to identify loopholes before they are exploited.
This means ongoing innovative thinking by those charged with policing borders.”