Iraq News

'Concern' over returning ISIL fighters: Belgium

EU countries must step up intelligence co-operation to tackle growing numbers of extremist fighters returning home from battlefields in Syria and Iraq, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Tuesday (November 15th).

Speaking in Brussels, Reynders said there is "concern" that "foreign fighters" were increasingly returning to Europe as coalition forces drive the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) from territory in Syria and Iraq, AFP reported.

"Today, thanks to the progress that we are making with the military coalition in Iraq and in Syria, we see that cities and entire provinces are being recovered," Reynders said.

"But there is concern about the larger return of these foreign fighters to our countries," Reynders said, following talks with French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault after the anniversary of the Paris attacks that were planned in Belgium.

He called for reinforcing not only "the co-operation and exchange of information between France and Belgium, but also with many other European partners and beyond".

The deadly Paris and Brussels attacks were both claimed by ISIL.

Meanwhile, German police on Tuesday carried out sweeping raids across 10 states in a probe against an Islamist group suspected of propagating hate and inciting 140 youths to fight alongside extremists in Syria and Iraq.

The group, called The True Religion, is now also banned, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

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