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200 Syrian refugees enter South Korea by plane

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Seoul: At least 200 Syrian refugees have entered South Korea by plane, with some being investigated for continued stay and others on standby at the airport here, South Korea’s intelligence agency said on Wednesday. Among the 200 Syrians, 135 have won a semi-refugee status allowing a temporary stay on humanitarian grounds. The Justice Ministry was examining whether to let them continue to stay in South Korea, a news agency reported.

The remaining 65 were standing by at Seoul airport under the supervision of authorities. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported the development at an emergency meeting of the parliamentary intelligence committee that was held to discuss countermeasures against possible terrorist attacks, local media said citing the two lawmakers briefed on it.

The meeting was held amid rising concerns here about terrorism following a series of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people and injured over 350 others.

The NIS said the Islamic State (IS) has included South Korea in the list of the so-called crusaders alliance as targets of terrorist attacks. The spy agency said IS followers were found among some of young South Koreans and Muslim workers here.

Ten South Koreans have publicly supported the IS militant group via the internet, but the NIS had yet to confirm their identity due to lack of legislations allowing the intelligence agency to identify such followers.

In the past five years, the NIS has deported 48 foreigners, classified as dangerous figures due to their links to the terrorist groups or possibility for terrorist attacks.

IANS