Middle East

German official: radicals going to Syria key worry

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere , right, attends a meeting at the Interior Ministry in Berlin, Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo, Marc Tirl, Pool)

BERLIN: Germany's top security official says the number of Islamic extremists traveling to Syria is "extraordinarily high" and a key concern as he starts his second stint in the job.

Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday that some 240 radicals are known to have gone from Germany to Syria over the past year. He said his fear is that they could return "with combat experience and international contacts" to carry out attacks in Germany.

He stressed that the problem of homegrown radicals heading to Syria is not Germany's alone, with France and other European countries facing the same issue.

De Maiziere became Chancellor Angela Merkel's interior minister last month, returning from the Defense Ministry to a job he previously held between 2009 and 2011.





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