France: At least 57 Paris airport workers on terror watchlist.

France has ordered a review of the security passes of tens of thousands of employees at the country’s main airport after the discovery that 57 workers with access to runways and aircraft were on an intelligence watchlist as potential Islamist extremists. It emerged yesterday that dozens of workers had their security badges blocked or withdrawn after terror attacks in January, but others continued to work at Charles de Gaulle Airport despite appearing in security files. Philippe Riffault, the police official in charge of airport security, said 86,000 passes for the airport would be “reviewed” in co-ordination with the intelligence services. The process would begin with 5,000 airport security personnel.

“It’s a question of verifying what these people might have been doing since they obtained their authorisation,” Riffault said.

Police carried out extensive searches of the airport under state of emergency powers following the Paris attacks. Some airport workers suspected of radical ties were placed under house arrest. The airport alert coincided with complaints this weekend by easyJet that four of its aircraft at French airports had been daubed with Arabic graffiti. Belgium, where a number of the Paris attackers had lived, has also withdrawn or blocked the security badges of several airport workers after discovering some had links to Islamist militants who had travelled to Syria. Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, said yesterday that 1,000 people considered a threat had been prevented from entering his country’s territory since the state of emergency was announced two weeks ago. Anger has grown over the French government’s failure to monitor suspected jihadists and its mismanagement of the 20,000 people with so-called “S files”, identifying them as “potential threats to the state”. Half are suspected of ties to Islamic radicals, and about 3,000 live and work in and around Paris — some of them at the airport.

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Source: The Australian.

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