An Interpol operation with the participation of Morocco has allowed the detection of a dozen “terrorist fighters” at the maritime borders in the Mediterranean, said Thursday the police cooperation organization.
Operation Neptune II was conducted from July 24 to September 8 in seven seaports of the six participating countries (Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco and Tunisia). “It has allowed the detection of more than a dozen people suspected of being foreign terrorist fighters crossing the Mediterranean,” Interpol said in a statement.
Neptune II targeted “the threats posed by these individuals suspected of using the sea connections between North Africa and Southern Europe during the peak tourist season,” said the police cooperation organization.
With the support of an Interpol team in the field, the operation relied on criminal intelligence to target criminal networks involved in human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, firearms and narcotics.
“Operating from seven seaports in the six participating countries, the teams conducted more than 1.2 million searches on Interpol databases specializing in stolen or lost travel documents, criminal data and stolen vehicles via Interpol’s global secure communication network,” added the source.
“The operation has opened 31 new investigations, including more than 12 related to the movement of terrorism suspects,” said Interpol.
Interpol’s databases currently contain detailed information on more than 50,000 foreign terrorist fighters and about 400,000 pieces of terrorism-related information, according to the same source.
According to Interpol, Operation Neptune II underscored “the importance of international, regional and national cooperation among different agencies in strengthening security, with the participation of experts from the European Border Agency and the Coast Guard (Frontex) and the World Customs Organization (WCO)”.