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EU urges action as foreign fighter numbers grow

Published on Jan 16, 2014 1:43 AM

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The number of young Europeans going to fight alongside extremist groups in Syria and countries such as Somalia and Sudan, is growing and the EU must try to halt it, a senior official said Wednesday.

Youngsters joining up with radical groups such as Al-Qaeda "can pose a threat to our security on their return home from a combat zone," European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said as she unveiled a new programme to tackle the problem.

Traditional law enforcement is not enough and EU member states "have no time to lose" in taking new measures, Ms Malmstroem said. Asked about how many fighters have gone to Syria, she said there were some 1,200 but the number is growing.

Of additional concern, she said, was that "Syria is not the only problem ... it is also happening in Somalia, Sudan for instance."

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