Colombia probing Syrian woman with links to radicalism who went to Paris on stolen passport

BOGOTA (AFP) - Colombia is investigating a Syrian woman with ties to radical Islam, who traveled to Paris ahead of the attacks on a stolen Israeli passport, sources at the state prosecutor's office said on Thursday (Nov 19).

Ms Seham Al Salkhadi left ahead of Friday's attacks on a direct flight from Bogota to the French capital's Charles de Gaulle airport, traveling under the name of Ashira Krieger, the sources said.

Ms Al Salkhadi is suspected of paying off customs officials at the El Dorado international airport in Bogota to be able to travel using a stolen passport, which had been tampered with to modify some details.

She was briefly detained upon her arrival in Paris but was released after a few hours.

"The prosecutor's services are working together with French authorities to establish her relationship with Islamist groups, but there is no proof that she is linked to the Paris attacks," said an official on condition of anonymity.

The official said the prosecutor was investigating the case in relation to a wider probe into corruption by airport officials, who have been letting criminals travel with forged documents.

Five officials with the Colombian migration services are facing charges in connection with the scandal which broke in September.

A statement issued by the prosecutor's services at the time said they were investigating whether corrupt airport officials had facilitated the departure for France of a female Syrian terror suspect.

Friday's coordinated gun and bomb attacks on the French capital, carried out by French and Belgian militants with ties to Syrian militants, left at least 129 people dead and 352 wounded.

The attack mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan, died in a police assault near Paris on Wednesday.

The news that such a high-profile ISIS figure slipped undetected into France has prompted renewed debate about Europe's border controls and monitoring of fighters returning from Syria.