The possibility of a terror link in the crash of the Air France jet into the Atlantic emerged tonight with a leading TV channel reporting that two of the passengers had shared names with some terror suspects but the French police appeared to downplay it.
Two names on the doomed AF 447's passenger manifest also appear on a list of radical Muslims considered a threat to France, Sky News reported quoting French investigators.
French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31, the channel said.
Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections, the channel quoted a source as saying.
There is a possibility that the name similarities are simply a "macabre coincidence," the source added, but the revelation is still being "taken very seriously."
A source working for the French security services told Paris weekly L’Express that the link was "highly significant."
The French police however appeared to downplay the possibility of a terror link and said this was a simple coincidence while ruling out a link to the accident.
A senior French officer was quoted as saying that the names were "simple namesakes" and dismissed the notion that the suspects were on board, adding that this line of enquiry had been dismissed.
The website of L'Express had also reported that French agents were making inquiries after finding the names of two suspected Islamist militants on the manifest.