London, July 3 (IANS) One in six British jihadis who went to Syria and Iraq to fight along with the Islamic State terror group were killed — but 400 are back in Britain and were a cause for concern, it has been claimed.
Security agencies believe that at least 15 per cent of all British extremists who fled the country to join the IS have been wiped out amid intensified airstrikes and military operations on the ground, a Daily Mail report said.
But with 850 fanatics believed to have travelled to IS strong holds from Britain, there were fresh fears that half of them have already returned.
Col. Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told local media: “My concern is more with the 400 or so who have returned to Britain and pose a threat. We have seen what the IS can do in Brussels, in Paris, in the US and most recently in Turkey.”
“They can, and will, try to do the same thing here. I think that’s what is most concerning. We are not actually being effective in killing them in large numbers as we need to be. Our failure to wholeheartedly attack Islamic State gives people the inspiration to carry out attacks,” he added.
His comments came days after it emerged that Britain will almost double its number of troops in Iraq. A total of 250 military personnel were to be deployed to the war-torn region to help in the fight against IS at the end of the summer. They will join around 300 soldiers already there.
Earlier this month it was reported that at least 85 British jihadis fighting in Syria were killed. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon revealed that around 850 people linked to Britain and regarded as a security threat are now believed to have taken part in the bloody civil war.
High-profile British deaths have included Mohammed Emwazi, who became known as Jihadi John after he appeared in barbaric videos in which he decapitated Briton and US hostages.
The 26-year-old Kuwaiti-born was killed in a drone strike in 2015. In September, Royal Air Force warplanes killed two British terrorists who were plotting attacks on British soil.
The government believes that the number of foreign fighters joining the IS had fallen to around 200 a month from its peak of 2,000.