Spain fears IS could infiltrate refugee tide reaching Europe

AFP , Monday 7 Sep 2015

People hold placards as they gather outside the European Commission headquarters in support of people seeking to enter Europe, in Madrid, Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Islamic State from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria.

"The vast majority are refugees fleeing war, terror, but we can't forget the Daesh is over there and these barbarians have shown that they are capable of carrying out their threats," Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told daily ABC using the Arabic acronym for the group.

"How can we doubt that, among this avalanche people who are not refugees could infiltrate themselves," he added in the interview published in the conservative newspaper.

"Besides it is obvious that these people are fleeing above all Syria and Daesh is established there," he added.

"Spain will not refuse the right of asylum to anyone," Diaz told ABC before adding that "controls must be strengthened to welcome these people".

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was expected to unveil a plan on Wednesday to relocate 120,000 refugees in EU countries under a mandatory quota system.

Under Juncker's proposal, Germany and France will take half of the refugees to relieve the burden on Greece, Italy and Hungary, while Spain will take almost 15,000, a European source told AFP.

Anti-government protests that erupted in Syria in March 2011 have spiralled into a complex civil war that has killed more than 240,000 people.

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