Eight people have been arrested at Istanbul’s main airport amid fears they are Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists posing as refugees after they were found clutching a hand-drawn map plotting the route to Germany.
Police sources said one of the suspects had a hand-drawn picture of a route from Turkey to Germany, via Greece, Serbia and Hungary.
It features exact details of how they should pick up smuggler boats and join refugees arriving on the Greek island of Kos before using trains and buses to travel across Europe before arriving in Germany where the map is rounded off with a little smiling stick man holding a flag.
Police fear the group are Islamic State militants planning to make their way to Germany posing as refugees.
The Anadolu Agency said the group arrived in Istanbul from Casablanca, Morocco, and were interviewed by criminal profiling teams at Ataturk Airport.
Anadolu said the eight claimed to be tourists visiting Istanbul but a hotel refuted claims they had reservations there.
Europe remains on high alert following the terror attacks in Paris which have left 129 dead and hundreds injured.
The arrest of the eight-strong group also sparks fears that the men may be part of a terror cell plotting an attack on Germany after ISIS posted a new video online threatening more Paris-style massacres.
The arrests come after an ISIS terrorist bragged about how easy it was to smuggle thousands of covert jihadists into Europe under the guise of being a desperate refugee.
The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had made it into western nations, hidden among innocent refugees.
He said members of the blood-thirsty group were following the well-trodden route taken by refugees and migrants fleeing Syria, travelling across the border of Turkey then on to boats across to Greece and through Europe.
The man claimed there are now more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen “ready” to strike across the European Union.
He said it was the beginning of a larger plot to carry out revenge attacks in the West in retaliation for the US-led coalition airstrikes.
He said extremists are taking advantage of developed nations’ generosity towards refugees to infiltrate Europe, he said.
More than 1.5million refugees have fled into Turkey alone–desperate to escape the bloodshed in Syria.
From Turkish port cities like Izmir and Mersin, thousands of refugees venture across the Mediterranean aiming for Italy, he said.
Then the majority make for more welcoming nations like Sweden and Germany, turning themselves over to authorities and appealing for asylum.
He said: “They are going like refugees.
“It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world.”
Two Turkish refugee-smugglers backed up the claims made by the terrorist.
One admitted to helping more than ten trained ISIS rebels infiltrate Europe under the guise of asylum seekers.
He said: “I’m sending some fighters who want to go and visit their families.
“Others just go to Europe to be ready.”