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Europe's Missing Islamic State Fighters

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by Soeren Kern  •  Gatestone Institute

  • Swedish Television surveyed officials in the five Swedish municipalities — Gothenburg, Stockholm, Örebro, Malmö and Borås — that are home to most of the 150 IS returnees and found that those municipalities combined only have knowledge of the whereabouts of a maximum of 16 adults and 10 children.

  • "The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial... The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them..." — U.S. President Donald Trump, Twitter, February 16, 2019.

  • The Wall Street Journal, in a recent editorial, "The West's Foreign Fighter Problem," noted that European governments face a "Catch-22" situation: either repatriate and prosecute their jihadis, or risk that they disappear off the radar and carry out new attacks in Europe.

The German government has lost track of scores of Germans who travelled to Iraq and Syria in recent years to join the Islamic State (IS). The revelation comes amid growing fears that some of these fighters are returning to Germany undetected by authorities.

The German Interior Ministry, in response to a question from the Secretary General of the classical liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), Linda Teuteberg, revealed that German authorities lack information on the whereabouts of at least 160 Germans who left to fight with the IS, according to Welt am Sonntag. The ministry said that while some had probably been killed in combat, others have gone into hiding and may be trying to resettle in Germany.

Read more: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14459/europe-returning-jihadists