Paris Terrorist Passed Through Croatia on October 8, Confirms Croatian Police

By 16 November 2015

The latest from the migrant crisis, as Croatian police confirm Paris terrorist passed though the country last month. 

While security measures throughout Croatia have been elevated to a higher level, recent terrorist attacks in Paris changed little at the temporary refugee reception centre in Slavonski Brod, reports Vecernji List on November 16, 2015. Migrants are being registered and photographed as usual. Afterwards, they are being taken by trains and buses to Slovenia. "Since the opening of the camp, safety has been at a very high level. The transfer of migrants and the camp itself are controlled by a large number of police officers. The centre is also under video surveillance, so the situation is under control", Helena Biočić from Croatian Interior Ministry explained.

At the request of France, Croatia has carried out certain checks and determined that one of the persons suspected of involvement in attacks in Paris passed the registration process in Opatovac on 8 October. It was a Syrian who came from Greece, where he was also registered, passed through Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, and then moved on to Hungary and Austria. The person had not been highlighted as a potentially suspicious in any of police records.

Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić confirmed that one of the attackers from Paris had been registered at the refugee centre in Opatovac. Asked whether Croatian citizens are safe, the minister answered that there is always the danger of potential terrorist threats, since Croatia is a member of the antiterrorist coalition. All security systems are at the highest level, primarily to protect foreign embassies, but also in order to prevent any security incidents, Ostojić said.

The minister declined to comment on the announcement by Macedonia that it is ready to put up wire fence on its borders. "I can only say that wires will not solve this issue. The solution is at the source, at the Greek-Turkish border. Greece should take measures to ensure that this mass influx of refugees stops", the minister said, adding that the problem should be solved with a common EU policy. Asked what should happen for Croatia to build its own border fence, the minister said there is no need to talk about that. We are controlling the situation, protecting our national security, Ostojić concluded.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for "equitable distribution" of migrants in Europe and warned that Paris attacks must not be brought in connection with "numerous innocent refugees". She reiterated the German position, saying that she "expects a fair distribution of refugees in Europe". "We have to act at the external borders of the European Union", she added.

Before that, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker defended the European policy of refugee quotas which has been contested by Poland after the attack in Paris. "The refugees are fleeing from people like these who carried out the attacks, so there is no reason to change European policy towards refugees", Juncker told reporters, which was interpreted as a direct response to Poland.

"The decisions of the European Council on the resettlement of refugees and migrants to all EU countries, which we have criticized, continue to have the force of EU law. But, after the tragic events in Paris, we do not consider them politically feasible", Konrad Szymanski, future head of the Ministry for European Affairs in the new Polish conservative government, said.