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UK Official Claims 2,000 Britons Fight for Islamic State: Reports

Sputnik News

20:50 23.11.2014(updated 21:53 23.11.2014)

Foreign fighters keep joining the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria. Some 2,000 British citizens have traveled to join the jihadists in the Middle East.

MOSCOW, November 23 (Sputnik) – Some 2,000 Britons have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the Telegraph reported Sunday, citing UK Member of Parliament Khalid Mahmood.

'The authorities say there are 500 British jihadists but the likely figure is at least three to four times that,' Mahmood said, as quoted by the newspaper. He also pointed out that '2,000 is a better estimate.'

According to the lawmaker, the UK Home Office remains incapable of detecting potential British jihadists leaving the United Kingdom and coming back to the country.

'The Government does not have significant people at border control. The fact is these jihadists are coming in and going out without almost ever being arrested. We have had hardly any arrests. We have had people coming back in after six months in Syria and they are not being picked up,' Mahmood stated.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), proclaimed an Islamic caliphate on the seized territories across Iraq and Syria.

In September, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said at least 500 UK citizens, have traveled to join the jihadists in the Middle East since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. According to Cameron, the flow of the foreign jihadists also includes over 700 French citizens, some 400 Germans and hundreds more Westerners.

According to the latest UN estimates, more than 15,000 people from over 80 countries have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups.


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