Numbers leaving Germany to join Islamic State on the rise

The number of terrorist sympathizers leaving Germany to join Islamic State's fight for power in the Middle East has climbed this year, according to intelligence service data released on Wednesday.

By July 20, 840 men and women had left Germany to travel to the extremist group's battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq, up by 20 compared to a mid-May tally, figures compiled by the BfV domestic German intelligence service showed.

At the end of 2015, about 760 Islamists had headed to Syria and Iraq from Germany, the BfV said in an answer to a parliamentary question from the hard-left Die Linke party.

About 140 have died in Syria and Iraq, where Islamic State has been fighting to carve out a caliphate across large parts of the two nations.

A quarter of the foreign fighters – about 210 people – who have travelled to the Middle East have Turkish citizenship or have Turkish family background, the BfV said.

A third of the total number or about 280 are believed to have since returned to Germany, according to the data.

Women made up one-fifth of those who travelled to link up with Islamic State, with the majority of them under the age of 30.

Last update: Wed, 17/08/2016 - 14:14

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