MOSCOW, November 23 (Sputnik) — At least 60 German citizens died while fighting for the Islamic State (IS) militant group, President of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maaßen said on Sunday in his interview with Welt am Sonntag.
“According to the federal agency, around 60 IS terrorists from Germany died or killed themselves – at least 9 of them were suicide bombers. This is a sad success of the Islamist propaganda,” Maaßen said.
He added that around 550 German nationals had recently left to Iraq and Syria, and many of them joined IS militants.
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
Numerous foreign fighters from the European Union, the United States and Canada are believed to be fighting for the jihadist group.
According to the US State Department, about 12,000 foreigners have joined the extremists fighting against government forces in Syria since the internal conflict began in 2011.