Three migrant women whose throats were slashed in a grisly and unprecedented murder along a key border crossing in northern Greece may have been targeted by jihadi extremists, Greek investigators said Sunday.
They said national security agents and homicide experts had been dispatched to the site of the crime scene, along the Evros border crossing, in northeast Greece, to probe the mystery killing that has sent shock waves across the nation and the country’s intelligence community.
The bodies of all three women were found lined up in a field along the banks of Evros, last week. Their hands were bound to their backs and their throats, slit in identical fashion.
The Evros border crossing in northeast Greece where the mysterious killing took place last week
‘All had deep, ragged slashes across their throats,’ a senior official with knowledge of the investigation told the Daily Mail. ‘The assailant was clearly experienced; someone who has performed this type of execution before.’
Local officials, including Haris Theoharis, mayor of the hamlet of Pythio, where the bodies were found, said the harrowing killings bore the hallmarks of jihadi extremists.
‘This region has long been popular among migrants sneaking into Europe from Turkey,’ said Mr. Theoharis. ‘Most dead bodies we find are those of migrants who either drown or freeze in their pursuit to make the river crossing.’
‘But this – this is, a jihadi-style execution and we are all alarmed.’
The identities of the victims and their nationalities have yet to be determined.
Still, a first set of autopsies performed both at the crime scene and at a state morgue in the city of Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, have debunked initial scenarios that the victims – two teenagers and a 30-year-old female – may have fallen victim to robbers or human smugglers over the payment for their illegal transfer.
‘That theory has now been ruled out,’ Pavlos Pavlidis, the lead state coroner told the Daily Mail on Sunday. ‘Gold jewelry and precious personal belongings worn by the women were left untouched.
Syrians who live in Malakasa refugee camp, on the outskirt of Athens protest against the living conditions at the camp
He said none of the victims had also been sexually assaulted, fanning fears that race or religion could have sparked the brutal crime.
The grizly killing comes amid growing concerns here that ISIS sympathizers may be streaming into Greece amid a fresh upsurge in illegal migration, mainly along the Evros route.
With an estimated 55 refugee centres set up nationwide, including five on an equal number of Aegean islands, Greece has effectively become a holding pen for some 60,000 asylum seekers since the European Union and a number of Balkan states sealed their borders to fend off an unprecedented refugee crisis in 2015.
That same year, however, two terrorists implicated in the bloody Paris attacks reached France via Greece. Both used forged Syrian passports to enter the country, posing as refugees.