Cyprus to deport 17 migrants suspected of terror links

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus will deport 17 migrants who are being held on suspicion of having links to extremist groups or involved in acts of terror, the country’s interior ministry said Monday.

The men are currently being held in a migrants’ detention facility and their deportation will proceed once commercial air traffic to and from the country is restored after the full lifting of all coronavirus restrictions, the ministry told The Associated Press in a statement.

It said intelligence provided by security agencies and law enforcement authorities including Europol and Interpol suggested that the men may have either been implicated in terror activities or belong to extremist groups.

The ministry didn’t disclose details about the men, their nationalities, which security agencies provided intelligence and with which groups they may be linked.

Cyprus has received about 3,000 asylum-seekers since the start of the year, with most arriving before the lockdown came into effect in late March.

The Cypriot government says an influx of migrant arrivals in the past few years has ranked the country among those European Union member states with the highest number of asylum applications relative to their population size.

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