South Cyprus has tightened security along the border following concerns regarding militant threats.
Security alerts have heightened this month after 17 people were killed in France. Officials in the South said that security had been tightened at ports and airports, and along crossing points linking the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides of the island.
At one pedestrian checkpoint on Tuesday, all non-Cypriots either inbound or outbound from the government-controlled south had their passports scanned, in contrast to an earlier policy of random and cursory checks, a Reuters witness said.
This is one of the most evident signs of increasing security at cross points past ten years.
“It is one of the measures to face possible terrorist threats,” a government source told Reuters. Police sources said the measures were purely precautionary and in line with measures taken around Europe.
The head of South Cyprus’ intelligence service said last week that a small number of Cypriot-registered pick-up trucks could have inadvertently ended up in the hands of Islamic State militants after being driven to the north of the island.
It is thought by Western diplomats that a small number of Europeans looking to join Islamic State may have used Cyprus as a transit point to avoid raising suspicions, arriving in South Cyprus before heading to the North and then on to Turkey and Syria.