Three Syrians heading to Malta with fake passports arrested in Italy

Another three Syrians heading to Malta with false passports arrested by Italian police

Another three Syrians who were travelling to Malta bearing fake passports have been arrested by Italian police, this time in Treviso.

Trevisotoday reported that the men were aboard a plane to Malta from the Treviso Airport when upon closer inspection, they were found to be bearing fake passports. It was reported that the men, named as 27-year-old Aadel Alaayad and two brothers identified as Husain Alkhalaf and Rudohan Mohama Alkhalaf.

The men were immediately arrested and are being held in custody by Italian police. The men – who are said to have arrived in Italy from neighbouring Austria – are being investigated over any possible connection with the Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

No connection has been established but investigations are still ongoing, reports said. 

The arrests by the Italian police, the eight in a week, follow the arrest of four Syrian nationals who were arrested at the Bergamo and Ciampino airports as they tried to reach Malta using fake documents. On Saturday, two Malian men who were travelling to Malta were arrested in Catania as they were found to be bearing fake residency permits.

The government has said that stricter checks and controls at the borders and the suspension of Schengen rules in Malta and Italy led to renewed passport controls and in turn. The increased security has in turn, uncovered a “racket” under which migrants would cross over, seeking asylum on the island.

A Somali man suspected of having managed the trips of over 200 asylum-seekers - either of Somali or Syrian origin - who wanted to reach Malta from Italy. A 31-year-old man from Birkirkara who landed in Malta following a flight from Rome last Thursday was arrested on suspicion of aiding migrants leave Italy illegally.

The police are still searching for another man linked to the racket. 

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday that the suspension of the Schengen rules will remain in place even after the conclusion of the CHOGM until the European Union establishes new rules to make Schengen a safer zone.

Muscat reassured that Malta was on the guard but there was no information – also obtained from international organisations – that Malta was in some sort of risk ahead of the CHOGM.

“We should never let our guard down and assume that nothing could ever happen to us. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be pessimistic to the point that every move is considered as dangerous. It’s all about balance.”