MORE than 60 Britons have died while fighting for Islamic terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The figure, confirmed by government sources, is twice that reported last year and suggests a sharp increase in the rate of British fighters killed in the service of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Experts say the new death toll means that nearly one in 10 of the estimated 700 British jihadists who have gone to Syria has been killed or has killed themselves in suicide attacks since the conflict started drawing in British foreign fighters in 2012. The identities of many of those killed have emerged in social media reports emanating from Isil.
The disclosure comes as ministers are understood to be planning a bombing campaign against Islamist terrorists in Syria. David Cameron is expected to call a Commons vote on the issue in the autumn.
It emerged yesterday that 43 women and girls are believed to have travelled to Syria from Britain in the past year.Scotland Yard disclosed that almost one female a week had been reported missing by their families to police forces around the country in the past 12 months.
Hundreds of Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria to fight. The police and MI5 fear that some of those who have returned will use their training and experience to plan attacks in Britain. This week Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, warned that children could be running away to join Isil but are able to escape the attentions of police because schools are not obliged to report if they stop attending classes.
Let them all go. But don’t let them back.