French citizens joining ISIL shows 82% rise: minister
Iran Press TV
Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:58AM GMT
The number of French nationals leaving the country to join the ISIL militant group in Syria and Iraq shows an 82 percent rise in 2014, almost doubling since the beginning of the year, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says.
"There is a considerable increase in the number of departures" from France to the Middle East in recent months, Cazeneuve said in a radio interview, adding that the increase has put about 375 French citizens "in the theater of operations in Syria and Iraq."
He noted that France has a new law to prevent its residents from leaving the country for combat zones, saying the government seeks to expand efforts to shut down websites and blogs aimed at recruiting fighters.
"Terrorist groups are powerfully organized on the Internet. They are calling on vulnerable youths to commit to carrying out very big terrorist acts," Cazeneuve said.
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday confirmed that two French citizens had been identified as suspects in a video showing the beheading of an American air worker and Syrian prisoners by the ISIL militants.
'All we can say for now is that there were two French people. One has been categorically identified and the other one is in the process of being identified,' Hollande said in a press conference in Canberra, Australia.
The 15-minute video, which was aired on Sunday, showed what appears to be the decapitation of US aid worker Peter Kassig and the mass execution of at least 14 abducted Syrian soldiers.
According to a report by the UN Security Council, 15,000 people have flocked to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the ISIL or other such groups.
The ISIL terrorists currently control swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq. They have been committing heinous crimes in the captured areas, including mass executions and beheading of local residents as well as foreign nationals.
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