France to probe ‘jihadist’ bungle

September 24, 2014 1:05 pm
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French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve holds a press conference at the Interior Ministry in Paris on September 22, 2014/AFP
French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve holds a press conference at the Interior Ministry in Paris on September 22, 2014/AFP

PARIS, September 24- France’s interior minister on Wednesday announced a wide ranging probe into a series of blunders that saw three suspected jihadists waltz out of a French airport after being transferred from Turkish custody.

Authorities were left red faced after an announcement they had arrested the three men at a Paris airport turned out to be false.

To make matters worse, it emerged the suspected French jihadists had been put on a different plane entirely to the southern city of Marseille, where they were — to their apparent surprise — able to walk freely from the airport on Tuesday.

In another snag, passport control failed to flag the men as suspicious, as a security databank was out of order at the time.

The government was however spared further blushes from the fiasco as the men handed themselves over to police on Wednesday — nearly a day later.

They were due to appear before an anti-terrorist judge.

“There was clearly a massive bungle but it was in large part due to … the absence of proper collaboration with Turkish authorities,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info radio.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists he had called for an administrative enquiry to “get to the bottom of what happened.”

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