European security services 'overwhelmed' by return of Syrian jihadists

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The recent arrest of a French citizen accused of a murderous attack at a Jewish museum in Belgium has highlighted the growing problem of jihadists returning from Syria to wage war in their own countries. More than 2,000 European citizens, including 630 French residents, have gone to fight against the Assad regime since 2011, according to recent figures. And some, at least, of those who return come back intending to use their combat training to carry out terrorists attacks at home. As Louise Fessard reports, the numbers involved are so great that European security forces, including those in France, are struggling to cope.

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The arrest of Mehdi Nemmouche on a bus in Marseille on May 30th has underlined a growing threat facing France and many other European nations – that of home-grown terrorists returning to wage war after fighting in Syria. Nemmouche, who was picked up during a security check, is wanted for the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24th that left four people dead. It has since emerged that the suspect, a French national, had gone to fight against the Assad regime in Syria. He is not alone.