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An illegal alien being deported via Belgium was sent back to Israel after he claimed he lost his travel documents en route and asked for political asylum in the European country.

This sheds light on a phenomenon: Illegal aliens expelled from Israel who "lose" their documents after taking off from Ben-Gurion International Airport, and then try to gain political asylum in Europe.

Airlines became aware of the phenomenon after several were charged heavy fines for transporting passengers lacking documents. Airline sources say there are about 10 such cases each month. Most involve citizens of African countries.

The person sent back from Belgium had left Ben-Gurion International Airport in August, apparently with forged documents, and was bound for Ghana by way of Brussels. When he reached the transit terminal in Brussels, he claimed to have lost his travel documents and asked for asylum.

He was held in Belgium for three months, and then was sent back to Israel, accompanied by three police officers. By law, people who enter European countries without proper travel documents are returned to the country where they boarded the flight - in this case, Israel.

The Belgian officers handed the man to Israeli authorities.

Israeli authorities order illegal aliens to leave within 14 days, and send them a letter to this effect. Some opt to ignore the warning and hide, risking being caught and then expelled. However, apparently there are many who try to trick European authorities, since many African illegal aliens need to fly via Europe in order to return to Africa.

In order to leave Israel, they must display a passport or another form of legal travel document. The person destroys the passport or document during the flight, and upon reaching Europe, he or she has no identifying document and requests political asylum.

European authorities fine the airlines hundreds of thousands of euros for transporting a passenger without documents - even though these documents were presented when the passenger boarded the flight.