Cyprus to deport six French extremist suspects

AFP , Monday 23 Nov 2015

Cyprus was expected to deport six French citizens to Switzerland after they were detained at the island's main airport and suspected of links to extremist groups, Cypriot authorities said Monday.

The six French passport holders, five men of Turkish descent and one of Algerian descent, were detained on Saturday evening after arriving at Larnaca airport on a low-cost flight from Basel, Switzerland, police said.

Police said the suspects were aged between 25 and 33.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou told state radio that at least three of the six appeared to have "strong links to terrorist groups".

"There were suspicions against these specific individuals upon their arrival at the island," Nicolaou said.

"We have information suggesting that they have strong links to terrorist groups, while Interpol has already informed us that three of those suspects have been identified as having links to a terrorist organisation," he said.

"The other three also appear to have some sort of link. They will probably be deported back to Switzerland at some point on Monday."

Once they return to Switzerland the suspects will be handed over to French authorities, Swiss federal police told AFP.

"This has been discussed with French authorities, they are the ones in charge of the case and they will take care of the suspects once they arrive," a spokesman said.

Cyprus has stepped up security at its airports, ports and other public places following the jihadist attacks in Paris earlier this month that left 130 people dead.

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