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1.27.2006
  Colombia Busts Militant Islamic Passport-Forging Ring
Colombia arrested 19 members of a passport-forging ring with links to Islamic militant groups Hamas and al Qaeda that enabled foreign nationals to travel in the United States and Europe under false documents, the attorney general's office said on Thursday.

"Some of the suspects are wanted for extradition by the United States for collaborating with terrorist groups Hamas and al Qaeda," Deputy Attorney General Alberto Otalora told reporters.

Three members of Colombia's Administrative Security Department, or DAS, the state intelligence agency, were arrested in the sweep. An employee of Colombia's National Registry, which provides official identification documents, was also among those arrested.

"This network since 2002 has been dedicated to falsifying documents in order to permit foreign citizens to travel as Colombians through Europe and the United States," a statement issued by the Attorney General's Office said.

Citizens of Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt sent information to the ring in Colombia, which used that information to create false Colombian passports, the statement said.

"The foreigners were turned into Colombian citizens without ever coming to Colombia," the statement said.
 
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