Budapest, September 28 (MTI) – The Hungarian Liberal Party has blamed the ability of terrorists involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks to enter and stay in Hungary last year on counter-terrorism unit TEK’s “failure” to detect and identify them when they entered the country.
Citing unnamed law enforcement sources, the daily Magyar Idők reported on Tuesday that several perpetrators of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks in November last year and March 2016 spent time in Budapest. The paper said the terrorists had used the so-called Balkan migrant route into Hungary.
Zoltán Bodnár of the Liberal Party told a press conference on Wednesday that if the government had fulfilled its international obligations to register migrants arriving in Hungary, “these terrorists would probably not have been able to roam free on the streets of Budapest.”
But in order to stir up fear over the migrant crisis, instead of registering these people, the government had “thrust” thousands of migrants onto Budapest and the country, Bodnar insisted.
Bodnár questioned the timing of Magyar Idők’s article, saying that it indicated that the government was “using every method it can” to “raise the level of fear” within the public.
János Halász, the spokesman for the parliamentary group of ruling Fidesz, said Magyar Idők’s article indicated that illegal migration continued to pose serious national security risks. Citing the article, Halász said Salah Abdeslam, one of the ringleaders involved in the Paris attacks, had transported two other terrorists involved in the attack out of Hungary last August. Those two terrorists had also arrived in Hungary by taking advantage of the inflow of illegal migrants into the country, Halász said.
He said that the situation in Hungary had not improved much compared to last year because although Hungary had sealed its border, Europe’s external borders were still “wide open”, allowing thousands of migrants to enter the continent unchecked on a daily basis.
Halász said a meeting of parliament’s defence committee has been convened for Thursday. The committee will review the results of the Hungarian, Belgian and French authorities’ joint investigation into the Paris attacks. Halász also called on Molnár Zsolt, the head of the national security committee, to convene a meeting of that committee as well so that the two bodies can hold a joint session.