Budapest, September 30 (MTI) – Hungary’s counter-terrorism force TEK informed the press on their findings concerning terrorists who spent time in Hungary last year, including perpetrators of the Paris and Brussels attacks, on Friday.
Senior TEK officials Csaba Majoros and Zsolt Bodnár said that altogether 14 terrorists had spent a few days each in Hungary last summer and autumn, but added that the Islamic State terrorist organisation had no network in the country. The terrorists arrived in groups of two or three, typically using the Balkans migrant route.
The group included Abdelhamid Abaoud, organiser of the Paris attacks, Ayoub El Khazzani, who attempted an attack on the Amsterdam-Paris express, as well as Salah Abdeslam, who was to be the fourth suicide bomber at the Stade de France attack in Paris, but who threw away his explosive belt in the last minute. Among the terrorists were also Bilal Hadfi and Chakib Akrouh, who then committed suicide attacks in Paris.
According to the investigation, Abdeslam made several trips to Budapest, as well as Algerian Bilal C., a close associate to Abaoud. The latter terrorist was detained for illegal crossing of the Hungary-Austria border, but he later managed to flee from the country. The TEK officials added that the terrorists’ movements had been coordinated by Islamic State headquarters in Syria.
Two further bombers at the Stade de France had also crossed into Hungary from Croatia, and were among the migrants the Hungarian authorities transported in buses to the Austrian border. They had been registered as asylum seekers in Croatia.
Answering a question about the timing of the presser, Bodnár said that TEK had recently received the information from their French and Belgian counterparts.
On Thursday, parliament’s law enforcement committee heard reports on the subject, but according to the opposition Socialists, no new information had come to light. Socialist deputy head of the committee Tamás Harangozó told the press afterwards that “people should decide themselves whether the session was just a campaign event” ahead of Hungary’s upcoming migrant quota referendum.