Five Syrian nationals were in custody after they flew into the capital of Honduras using stolen Greek passports, authorities said Wednesday.
The arrests stoked concerns raised by reports that some of the attackers who killed 129 people last week in Paris may have entered Europe from the Middle East through Greece. But Honduran authorities stressed Wednesday that they believed the men were simply seeking to immigrate to the United States and had no connection to terrorism.
"They are normal Syrians," said Aníbal Baca, a spokesman for the national Police Investigation Department. They are expected to be charged with falsifying documents, he said.
The men were arrested Tuesday night at Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa after they got off a Colombian Avianca flight and presented the stolen passports, Baca told reporters. Officials from the Greek Embassy confirmed that none of them spoke Greek, Baca said.
A State Department official told NBC News that the agency was aware of the arrests and that the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa was working with Honduran authorities to identify the men.