14:47 GMT05 March 2021
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    Nearly half the European jihadis who joined the Islamic State fighters in the Middle Eastern conflict zone are French, France's Senator reported Wednesday.

    According to Senator Jean-Pierre Sueur, over 1,430 French nationals have fled to the ISIL-controlled territories of Iraq and Syria, accounting for 47 percent of European jihadi fighters.

    The official noted that almost 3,000 individuals suspected of terrorist activities have been placed under surveillance, and added that the security agency has registered a 24-percent increase in the number of suspects since November 2014.

    While some 85 French nationals are believed to have been killed in the Middle Eastern conflict zone, about 200 individuals have fled the Middle East intending to return to their homeland. This fact is triggering fears over the possibility of new massacres in France, similar to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and the following clashes in Paris on January 8-9, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people.

    France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has repeatedly expressed his concerns regarding the growing number of European militants in the Middle East.

    According to the politician there are almost 3,000 Europeans fighting alongside Islamic State extremists. In the coming months this number could reach 5,000 and soar to over 10,000 before the end of the year, he noted in an interview with a national radio station.

    According to Jean-Pierre Sueur, 152 Islamist extremists have been detained and are currently being held in French prisons. However, prison radicalization in France also poses a serious challenge to the country's national security, the official stressed.  


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