U.K. Jews Fear They May Be Targeted by Returning Jihadists

It is estimated that between 300 and 500 British men have joined ISIS and other jihadist groups and many have already returned.

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ISIS recruitment video featuring Reyaad Khan, center.
ISIS recruitment video featuring Reyaad Khan, center.

British Jews are concerned that they may be the next target of local Muslims who have left the United Kingdom to fight with Islamic militant groups in Iraq and Syria, according to the London-based Jewish Chronicle.

It is estimated that between 300 and 500 British men have joined ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and other jihadist groups, according to anti-terror officials. Many are thought to be university students who left their courses to fight.

"It's not clear how many have already come home or how carefully they are being monitored," a spokesman of the Community Security Trust, a community organization that secures Jewish institutions in the U.K. and monitors anti-Semitism told the Chronicle. "We have to work on the suspicion that some may target Jews."

The trust said it was concerned at the potential dangers. "We take it very seriously. What took place in Brussels at the Jewish museum shows exactly what can happen," the spokesman said.

The suspect in the Brussels shooting, Mehdi Nemmouche, is a former fighter with Islamic groups in Syria who returned to Europe.

Lord Carlile, a Jewish peer and expert on terrorism legislation, called on the government last week to reintroduce tough measures to restrict terror activities.

"When jihadis do return, if there's any reasonable suspicion they have terrorist intentions here then we must have the facilities to prevent them from those acts," he said.

"I'm far from convinced that we do. We need to reintroduce control orders or something like them."

Carlile spent nine years as the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation under the last Labor government and monitored the fight against Islamic extremism. His call came as Richard Barrett, a former director of the MI6 intelligence agency, said security services would not be able to track all Britons who return to the UK after fighting in Syria.

That claim was rejected by the Metropolitan Police, which insisted that it had the tools to monitor British jihadists returning from to the country.

Concern has increased since it was revealed that Reyaad Khan, a 20-year-old featured in an ISIS recruitment video, had grown up close to the Cardiff homes of three Muslim terrorists jailed in 2012 for plotting to attack British rabbis.

Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that ISIS could be plotting to attack targets in Britain. It is thought that as many as 250 fighters could have already returned to Britain, some having faked their deaths abroad.

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