‘Egyptian’ immigrant sex attacker has blocked deportation by claiming he is a ‘Syrian refugee’.

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An immigrant sex attacker has blocked a bid to boot him out of Britain by claiming he is a Syrian refugee. Abdulrahman Abunasir asked for asylum while serving an 18-month jail term for attempted rape. But when officials questioned him, they found he could not even answer “simple” questions about Syria.

They said he was Egyptian but could not deport him because they could not prove his nationality. Instead Abunasir, whose age is not known, has been detained in a secure immigration centre for almost two years. Immigration detainees usually cost taxpayers about £120 a day, meaning Abunasir’s bill stands at around £80,000 so far.

He insists he is Syrian, which would mean the UK could not deport him because of the country’s ongoing civil war. Abunasir sued the Government, claiming he was being unlawfully held.

But a court heard he had also allegedly claimed to be Palestinian when detained in France years earlier. Judges threw out his damages claim in July but have warned officials they cannot hold him indefinitely. It means Abunasir could soon be free to walk the streets again despite his offences being branded “serious and frightening” by courts.

Lord Alex Carlile QC, the former anti-terrorism laws reviewer, said last night: “It’s regrettable that a sex offender who has committed a very serious offence cannot be removed.

“As long as this case continues, there is a high cost to the taxpayer.”

Abunasir attacked a woman outside a cafe in London in April 2013, shortly after his arrival in the UK.

He tried to grope her and bit her lip. His victim was “petrified she was going to be raped” before she escaped from the late-night assault.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.”