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Swiss tally ex-residents fighting as jihadists

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Swiss tally ex-residents fighting as jihadists
Photo: Rami Al Sayed/AFP
18:25 CET+01:00
Twenty-two people have left Switzerland to fight abroad as jihadists since May, including eight in the past fortnight, the Swiss intelligence agency said on Monday.

This represents almost one third of the 62 who have left to fight since 2001, including 37 who headed to Syria and Iraq and 25 to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
   
Eight have since died, the agency said, giving no details of how, where or when.
   
Three fighters have returned to Switzerland since the end of November, bring the total to 19 returnees since 2001.
   
The numbers are far below the hundreds who have flocked from countries such as France and Britain to fight with the Islamic State organization in Iraq and Syria.
   
But the agency said: "The increase in the numbers compared to November certainly indicates a growing phenomenon."
   
It said the numbers may also be explained by increased efforts to identify would-be fighters.
   
While "every case is different" the agency said: "Declarations posted on the Internet by people who seem to live in Switzerland and inciting violence and jihad pose an increasingly alarming problem."
   
Earlier this month, a 30-year-old Swiss convert to Islam from the canton of Vaud was ordered to do 600 hours of community service after returning from fighting with the IS group in Syria.
   
He travelled there late last year to join a training camp but after two weeks asked to leave, only to be detained by the group for 54 days, French-language public broadcaster RTS reported.

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