Danish govt 'paid' welfare benefits to ISIS jihadists
Over two dozen jihadists were receiving unemployment benefits from the Danish government while fighting for Islamic State in Syria, local media report, citing the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET).
According to PET, out of the 28 Danes identified by the national security authority as having received benefits, 15 have already been ordered to pay them back, eight people are still being investigated, and five cases had been dropped due to insufficient evidence, Denmark's BT daily reported.
"It is highly important that we are not naive," Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen told the daily, saying that while PET's main task is to prevent terrorism and extremism, the data concerning people who fought for Danish money was tracked down by merging records kept by different authorities.
PET has previously announced that, according to its assessment, up to a hundred people have gone to the Middle East to fight as jihadists. Of those, 15 have been killed in Syria fighting for the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in the civil war, while 50 have returned to Denmark.
A recent report from the Economist calculated that when measured by Denmark's total population of just 5.6 million, it has the second-highest number of foreign fighters in Syria. Only Belgium has a higher quota per million residents.
Danish PM has announced earlier this year that Denmark plans to dispatch seven F-16 fighter jets to Iraq to aid in the struggle against Islamic State militants. Helen Thorning-Schmidt pledged that the F-16s would be limited to flying in Iraq and would not be targeting any areas in neighboring Syria, however.
In early September, a mosque in Denmark’s second-biggest city, the port of Aarhus, openly declared its support for the IS. The announcement came less than a week after a Danish-Turkish jihadist, who was born and raised in Denmark, told local broadsheet Politiken that the IS "has become very international and Denmark is high up on the list."
"Denmark is not my country. The Muslims’ country is the caliphate and inshallah [God willing] there will soon be an attack here. Denmark should prepare itself," the Local quoted the militant as saying.