Sicilian prosecutors confirmed to the Guardian that Aouissaoui arrived in Lampedusa on September 20, then spent 14 days on a quarantine boat before being transferred to Bari on the mainland on October 9.
The high number of arrivals from Tunisia means that repatriation procedures from Italy are often delayed. Instead, Tunisians frequently receive an “exit slip”, requiring them to leave Italy within seven days. Aouissaoui had received such an order but, like many, had gone to France illegally.
Sicilian prosecutors also confirmed that Aouissaoui had no papers with him and said a photo of him made public by French police matched the one in their possession.
According to the magistrates, “the current and most probable hypothesis” is that he went to Lampedusa on board a small boat.
Europol said in a report earlier this year that there was no sign of systematic use of “irregular migration” by terrorist organizations.
A UN committee of experts, however, said the arrest of nine Syrians, an Egyptian and a Turkmen in Cyprus in May 2020, all linked to Isis or groups affiliated with Al Qaeda, showed that potential terrorists could use illegal migration routes to reach Europe.
Matteo Salvini, the former far-right Italian interior minister, said that if Aouissaoui’s reports landed in Lampedusa, the current interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, should resign or be fired. .