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Bonino warns of sleeper cells among refugees

'Security' central to European migration debate - foreign min

21 January, 17:18
Bonino warns of sleeper cells among refugees (ANSA) - Rome, January 21 - Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Tuesday warned of the possible presence of terrorist 'sleeper cells' among refugees arriving in Europe and said the issue of security must be central to the immigration debate. "Millions of refugees, including women and children, provide an easy hiding place for a whole series of other gentlemen," said Bonino.

"It is a European problem because Italy is a transit country and the final destination of sleeper cells is a matter for the whole of Europe," she continued. The foreign minister added that millions of refugees are on the move in the Mediterranean: a million in Lebanon, 500,000 in Jordan, 300,000 in Turkey. "It is no longer a question of how many refugees each country takes", she said, adding that the migrant boat landings on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa and deaths at sea are only the tip of the iceberg.