Smuggler Warns: Militants Hiding Among Migrants On Refugee Boats

Migrant smuggler in Turkey tells Vocativ that the boats are carrying fighters as well as civilians

Nov 14, 2015 at 2:59 PM ET

The highly-coordinated attack in Paris was carried out by a three teams of people, one of whom allegedly traveled to Europe with a Syrian passport on the migrant route. A smuggler who spoke to Vocativ in September said that extremists and al-Qaeda militants are hiding among migrants clinging to rubber boats across the Mediterranean Sea. This warning became all too real on Friday, when the attack in Paris killed 129 people, and injured more than 350 others in its wake.

Abo Khaled, a former miltant belonging to al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, said he deserted the fighting in Syria and made his way to Turkey before getting into the lucrative business of smuggling people over treacherous waters into Greece. Abo Khaled is not his real name. He told Vocativ he discovered the smuggling business through a friend on Facebook. More than 2,500 migrants have died this year crossing the Mediterranean or Aegean Seas to escape to Europe. He says many of those who’ve died drowned because of greedy smugglers who try to fit as many people as possible onto boats for a profit, even though there’s often not enough capacity for everyone.