Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Over a Thousand French Nationals Linked to Jihadist Organizations


PARIS – More than a thousand French nationals have forged links of one sort or another with jihadist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.

In an interview carried by the BFM TV and RMC broadcasting networks, Cazeneuve said slightly over a thousand French people are associated with jihadist groups, and 380 are actively fighting alongside them in Syria or Iraq.

Another 180 are believed to be en route to those two countries to join the ranks of terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State or Al-Nusra Front.

The authorities estimate that approximately 200 French nationals have expressed their intention to leave the country and another 200 have returned to France after participating in the jihadist movement.

The minister insisted that the French authorities have launched an extremely proactive action against this phenomenon, opening 103 judicial investigations focused on 500 people, resulting in 118 instances of charges being filed and dozens of arrests.

Cazenueve also defended his bill against jihadism, currently being debated in the French parliament, which stipulates that those suspected of traveling to conflict zones abroad to join terror organizations will lose their French identity cards.

He noted that one of the main purposes is to prevent the entry into France of those without French nationality and stressed the importance of shutting down jihadist websites, since 90 percent of young people are recruited to the cause over the internet.


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