Isis militants are posing as refugees and being smuggled into Europe across the Mediterranean, it has been reported.
Islamic State fighters are taking advantage of the current migrant crisis in the Mediterranean by joining overfilled boats leaving northern Africa for Europe, according to government advisor Abdul Basit Haroun.
He told BBC 5 live Investigates that he had spoken to boat owners in areas controlled by Isis.
They told him that militants were profiting from the dangerous journey across the sea by demanding half of people smugglers’ incomes in exchange for allowing them to keep operating – and to take fighters with them.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr Haroun said that the boats were used “for their people who they want to send to Europe, as the European police don't know who is from IS and who is a normal refugee or not.”
"The boat owners have a list of who to take but some people come suddenly and they're told, 'take them with you.' They sit down separately, and in the boat they are not scared at all.
In pictures: Migrant boat disaster
In pictures: Migrant boat disaster
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Rescuers help children to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy
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A child is carried by a rescue worker as he arrives with migrants on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo
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A migrant is helped disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy
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A boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of Messina after a rescue operation at sea
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Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
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Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
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Rescued migrants talk to a member of the Malta Order after a fishing boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast, is brought ashore along with 23 others retreived by the Italian Coast Guard vessel Bruno Gregoretti at Boiler Wharf, Senglea in Malta
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Bodies of dead immigrants lie on the deck of the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
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Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off their ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
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Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing stand on the deck of their ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, as it arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour
"They are for IS – 100 per cent. I think they do something for planning in future, not for today or tomorrow."
The claims come after warnings issued earlier in the year by EU border control agency Frontex that extremists may try to come into the country via irregular migration routes.
Indeed, the journey from North Africa to Europe is not a simple one – with 3,500 people dying on the crossing in 2014 alone. So far this year 1,800 have died, which is 20-fold increase on the same time period the year before, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Prosecutors leading the investigation into migrant trafficking confirmed to the Mail on Sunday that Isis was charging boat owners to operate. They added that they were “investigating the possibility” of foreign fighters hiding on the boats.Reuse content