media Ifri in the Media

Jihad in Syria and in Iraq: a Сhallenge for France

One week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the police killed two jihadists in Belgium. Officials said that the two men were coming back from Syria and were on the brink of targeting Brussels. The capital of Belgium was already targeted a few months ago: in May 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche – a French citizen who had trained in Syria – killed 4 persons in Brussels’ Jewish museum.

Jihad in Syria and in Iraq has attracted some 15,000 foreign fighters, of which 3,000 are Westerners. If Belgium has the highest number of jihadists per inhabitant in Europe, French jihadists are more numerous in absolute terms. The figures provided by the French Ministry of the Interior last November are astonishing: at that point 1,132 French residents were involved in jihadist networks. 376 were present in Syria or in Iraq, over 300 had decided to leave France, 184 were in transit, 199 had left the war zones (out of which 109 returned to France and had been indicted) and 49 had been killed.


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