With thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and making perilous journeys to enter European shores, a Lebanese minister has claimed that "as many as 2% of the refugees could be jihadis belonging to Islamic State [Isis]". The militants posing as refugees could carry out terror attacks in Europe, Lebanon's Education Minister Elias Bou Saab has said.
Though the minister said there was no concrete evidence of militants infiltrating fleeing migrants, he claimed "it was his gut feeling". Replying to reporters' questions, Saab said: "Yes, they [Isis militants] bring some people, the smugglers. They organise groups and send them out. They are all dressed with something unified, uniform, vests."
"You may have, let's say, 2% that are radicals [one in 50 refugees]. I don't have any information. My gut feeling is yes they are facilitating such an operation. For what reason, I don't know," the minister added.
Citing the recent kidnapping of Lebanese army personnel at a refugee camp in the country, Saab said: "We have had that [infiltration] also with our camps here. You find 2% - 3% of them. When the Lebanese army were kidnapped in Lebanon, the people who kidnapped them came out of the camps. We had them in camps in Lebanon and we were taking care (of them) and all of a sudden they came out of the camps, they went against the army, they kidnapped the soldiers and they took them to the mountains."
Cameron pledges £1bn aid
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron, who is on a visit to Lebanon and Jordan, has pledged £1bn ($1.5bn) in aid for refugee camps to be set up for displaced Syrians to remain in the Middle East. He was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I wanted to come here to see for myself and to hear for myself stories of refugees and what they need. Britain is already the second largest donor to refugee camps, to this whole crisis, really helping in a way that many other countries aren't with serious amounts of money. We will go on doing that including increasing the amount of money we are giving to educate Syrian children here in Lebanon and elsewhere. I think that's absolutely vital."
Earlier, Britain said it would take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees from UN camps over the course of the parliament, which ends in May 2020.