Less than 100 British jihadists prosecuted for Syria terrorism
Under a quarter of returning British jihadists have been charged by UK courts. More than 500 are suspected of having traveled to Iraq and Syria, according to the Home Office.
The figures, obtained in a Freedom of Information request by the Sun, show that out of the 250 jihadists who have allegedly returned to the UK, only 40 have been charged.
The figures come in spite of warnings from the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Mark Rowley, who said there is “heightened concern” of a terror attack following those in Paris earlier this month.
This week, 27-year-old Imran Khawaja, from Southall, London, was given a prison sentence after admitting to a number of offences while fighting with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Khawaja was thought to have been killed, but it was later revealed he had faked his own death using social media in December 2014.
“We will take the strongest possible action against those who have traveled to Syria and Iraq and return with the intention of doing harm,” a Home Office spokesperson told the Sun.
“We have existing powers, but are toughening these even further to make sure we can defend ourselves against the serious and rapidly changing threats emerging from the region.”
— Syrian Updates (@syrializer) January 21, 2015
On Thursday, speaking in London, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria had made progress in curtailing jihadist militia groups such as the Islamic State, which he referred to as ‘Daesh’.
“In recent months we have seen, definitively, Daesh’s momentum was halted in Iraq and in some cases reversed. Ground forces supported by nearly 2,000 air strikes now, have reclaimed more than 700 square kilometers,” he said.
Kerry also claimed around half of the militia’s senior commanders had been killed by coalition air raids, alongside large numbers of heavy weaponry and vehicles.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also expressed additional support to the coalition’s efforts and pledged future military support to Arab troops fighting on the ground in the region.
“This campaign is not going to fail for want of some guns or some bullets in the hands of the Iraqi security forces,” he said.
Hammond also warned it would take up to two years to defeat the militia, but that military efforts were necessary in order to “turn the tide.”