PARIS, France (Kurdistan 24) – French authorities are on high alert and warn of the risks of potential terrorist attacks in the country as 271 alleged Islamic State (IS) militants have returned from Iraq and Syria.
France’s interior minister Gerard Collomb said the French nationals who were members of the extremist group have returned from the Middle East.
An unknown number of the 271 militants “have been detained and are being investigated by the authorities,” Collomb added.
The interior minister mentioned that roughly 700 French citizens had traveled to Iraq and Syria over the past few years where an unknown number had been killed.
As the radicalized fighters return to France, the threat of terrorist attacks in the country remains “very high,” Collomb said.
France has been the target of several IS-inspired terror attacks since the start of 2015.
In November 2015, 130 people were killed, and over 360 were injured in a Paris terror attack.
Last July, a man drove a cargo truck into a crowd in Nice, killing 84 people. The suspect was eventually killed in a gunfight with police.
French authorities successfully foiled seven terror plots this year alone, security sources report.
According to Collomb, France’s military contributions abroad have “exposed the country” to attacks by the extremist group.
Nicholas Rasmussen, the Director of the US National Counterterrorism Centre, said the surviving foreign fighters would return to Europe “with a whole new set of skills.”
International police agency Interpol recently distributed a list of 173 returning IS militants planning attacks in Europe to national security services in hopes of preventing further massacres.
Editing by G.H. Renaud