BEIRUT

Middle East

Nearly 900 French jihadi in Iraq and Syria

A fighter from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul July 16, 2014. (REUTERS)

PARIS: France's top security official says nearly 900 French citizens have gone to Middle East battlegrounds and some have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group.

Despite efforts to discourage French people from joining militant groups, the figures given Wednesday by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve show the numbers of French youth leaving continue to grow.

"There are today nearly 900 from France who are part of this phenomenon, either in the theater of operations in Syria or in Iraq. There are presumably some in Iraq because ISIS, which recruited them, takes them to all the places where it is engaged in combat," Cazeneuve told France Info radio.

Security officials fear European militants will ultimately turn their skills against their homelands.

 

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