The Syrian passport found at one of the Paris terrorist attack scenes on Friday appears to be a fake, planted by ISIS as a "cunning chess move" to sway world public opinion against Syrian refugees who have been fleeing their homeland to escape ISIS atrocities and persecution, officials now believe.
One of the Paris attackers blew himself up Friday night with a suicide bomb outside the Stade de France national soccer stadium where an international game between the France and Germany national teams was in progress — and French President Francois Hollande was in attendance.
Ahmad al-Mohammad's Syrian passport. It's a fake. He detonated his suicide vest outside the Stade de France. pic.twitter.com/hDKX0YwQeaThe Syrian passport was found at the scene, and authorities initially believed that it belonged to the bomber — though why the suicide bomber would feel the need to carry his passport with him as he exploded his deadly device was not made clear.
— Ed Thomas (@EdThomas76) November 17, 2015
Why would a jihadist who expressly rejects all notions of modern citizenship take his passport on a suicide mission? So it gets found. — Charlie Winter (@charliewinter) November 15, 2015Based on information contained on that passport, authorities said that the suicide bomber entered Europe as a Syrian refugee. If so, that would make him the only one of the seven terrorists killed in the attacks, mostly by suicide, who was not a home grown French or Belgian national.
Watch a concise summary of the Syrian passport case in the video above, on this page.
But even as 23 governors of U.S. states said that they would bar Syrian refugees from their states — a policy which U.S. governors have no legal power to enforce — investigators in Europe now say that the Syrian passport was fake, a forgery of a passport that originally belonged to a since-deceased Syrian government soldier born in 1990 named Ahmad Almohammad.
Right-wing political leaders across Europe have also called for European countries to turn away the desperate refugees from Syria, on the alleged ground that some might actually by ISIS terrorists.
In fact, on Monday in Serbia, according to a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper, police there arrested another man carrying a passport mostly identical to the passport found near the body of the Paris soccer stadium suicide bomber. The only difference between the two forged passports, police now say, is the photograph of the person supposedly named Ahmad Almohammad.
Officials in Greece said that on October 7, a man using a Syrian passport in the name of Ahmad Almohammad entered their country through the small Greek island of Leros where he registered as a refugee from the civil war in Syria.
Originally, reports said that the Leros refugee was the same man who, five week later, set off the soccer stadium suicide bomb as part of the Paris ISIS attacks. But on November 14, a second man using the Ahmad Almohammad Syrian passport turned up in a refugee center in Serbia — a development that casts doubt on whether the Paris terrorist was the same individual who entered Greece as a refugee in October.
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With passport forgery a common occurrence in the current refugee crisis, the discovery of the nearly identical passports has raised the possibility that there could be any number of people carrying Syrian passports in the name of deceased soldier Ahmad Almohammad now inside Europe, as yet undetected.
All authorities now know is that the passport supposedly belonging to the Paris suicide bomber was a phony, possibly planted by ISIS as part of a campaign against the refugees who flee the self-styled ISIS "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq.
"It remains to be determined whether it was a refugee sent by ISIS to Europe to carry out an attack, or whether it is a cunning chess move by the ISIS, which laid this trail in order to scare people," said Germany Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. "There are indications it is a false trail."
According to experts on the ISIS situation in Syria, the terror group has made provoking violent anti-Muslim sentiment in Western countries a major element of its agenda.
"The Islamic State's strategy is to polarize Western society," wrote counterterrorism expert Harleen Gambhir on Monday. "The group hopes frequent, devastating attacks in its name will provoke overreactions by European governments against innocent Muslims, thereby alienating and radicalizing Muslim communities throughout the continent."
If the Paris ISIS suicide bomber with the Syrian passport was not Ahmad Almohammad, the question for investigators remains — who was he?
[Featured Photo By Frank Austein / Associated Press]