JUSTICE Minister Ionas Nicolaou confirmed on Friday media reports that two of the five terrorists arrested in France for allegedly planning attacks in the country, had passed through Cyprus a year and a half ago.
According to the Daily Mail, two of the five men arrested this week in two French cities planning a terror attack in the country and who were receiving their orders from an Islamic State group member based in Iraq or Syria, had travelled to the Turkish-Syrian border via Cyprus in March 2015. The paper was quoting Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
Commenting on the report, Nicolaou gave reassurances that that information has already been investigated.
“We always evaluate any information that comes to us as well as the information in question,” Nicolaou said.
He added that the Republic makes regular risk assessments and takes the necessary measures due to the proximity of the country in the region, the fact that there is connection between the north and Turkey, which also borders the region, and due to that there are British bases on the island.
Cyprus, Nicolaou said, joins efforts with all the European Union member states, including exchange of information.
“It is at this level that several times we gave information, we received information,” Nicolaou said. “We gave important information to the authorities of other countries about the way of operation of some suspicious persons”.
He said that the measures taken in Cyprus are at a high level, and that they are equivalent of those of other European Union countries. Nicolaou said they are “sufficiently satisfactory for the level of risk Cyprus faces”.