Police in New Caledonia detain 11 Iraqis

NOUMEA, Sept 24, 2008 (AFP) – Eleven Iraqis and a Palestinian have been detained in New Caledonia after flying in on false European passports, border police in the French Pacific territory said Wednesday.

Four were initially picked up at the airport Monday after flying in from Paris via Tokyo on forged Danish passports, claiming to be Iraqi Christians, border police chief Mario Banner told AFP.

Subsequent checks led police to seven other Iraqis and a Palestinian at a Noumea hotel. The 12, aged between 25 and 30, include three women.

Banner said checks were underway to determine if any of them had links to terrorism. They are under investigation for illegal entry, falsification of official documents and links to crime.