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German minister warns of IS fighters returning to Europe

Europe
20.10.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has warned of an increased threat from returning Islamic State (IS) fighters after the terrorist group suffered major territorial losses in Syria and Iraq in recent days.

The threat posed by foreign fighters returning to Europe after combat and by Islamist online propaganda were at the centre of a two-day Group of Seven (G7) meeting on the small Italian island of Ischia that started Thursday.

"After the successes against Islamic State, we are preparing for the following: strongly radicalized, combat-ready jihadists leaving conflict areas to return to their home countries, to Europe, to Germany," the minister told dpa Friday.

"It will be a particular focus to exchange information on returning foreign fighters," de Maiziere said.

He said that prosecutions in individual cases would only possible in the presence of information about what happened on the ground.

"We note with particular concern that as Da‘esh suffers battlefield setbacks, it is exploiting the Internet to encourage sympathizers to conduct acts of terrorism in our Countries and across the globe," the ministers said in a joint G7 communique published Friday.

To this end, it was "urgent to work collaboratively across all involved actors, including governmental authorities, industry and civil society [to counter terrorism online.]"

Representatives from major internet and social media companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, also attended the meeting.

The communique listed the promotion of the newly established database, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, as an objective moving forward.

 

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