Budapest (MTI) – A Thursday session of parliament’s law enforcement committee revealed no “new substantive information” concerning press reports that perpetrators of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks spent time in Budapest last year, an opposition politician said.
Tamás Harangozó, (Socialist) deputy head of the committee, told a press conference after the closed meeting that only “minor details” had come to light, adding that “others should decide themselves whether the session was just a campaign event”. He noted that the Hungarian authorities had been investigating the case since last December. “The question is whether or not there was a reason to hear reports on a case under way for a year just four days before the referendum”.
Lajos Kósa, the committee’s head who is also leader the ruling Fidesz party’s parliamentary group, summed up the reports heard at the meeting, saying the perpetrators could have “used Hungary as a logistics base”. He said they had used the influx of migrants into Europe as cover and had “abused the good faith” of the European and Hungarian authorities.
Kósa said that there could have been 15-18 perpetrators and allegedly a similar size group had provided logistical support. He also warned that it was “almost certain” that several other such groups had come to Europe, while the number of terrorists trained to commit individual attacks is “estimated to be several thousand”.
Kósa insisted that Hungary’s fence along the Serbian border had “completely thwarted” the activities of the perpetrators, but the earlier “Dublin and Schengen regimes had been no problem” for them. He argued that before the Paris attacks, cooperation between the European secret services had been inadequate, and the Hungarian authorities could not crack down on criminals already wanted in other countries.
On Tuesday, the daily Magyar Idők reported that several terrorists involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks in November last year and March 2016 had stayed in Budapest. The paper said the terrorists had used the so-called Balkan migrant route into Hungary.