More than 1,500 young Britons may have been recruited by the ISIS extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria, an MP has told Sky News.
Khalid Mahmood said the radicalisation of young British men is a problem that has steadily grown in recent years and could be much more serious than previously thought.
The Birmingham MP’s comments suggest the number of would-be jihadists is much greater than ACPO anti-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy’s estimate of 500 – the highest figure previously mentioned.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed that around 400 young British men had travelled to the region.
Mr Mahmood told Sky News: “I imagine 1,500 certainly would be the lower end. If you look across the whole of the country, there’s been a number of people going across.
“Originally you had the British Syrians settled here who wanted to go back and play a part, then you had the Kurdish community, then almost two years ago you had the young British Muslim community going across – so if you add all that up you’ve got serious figures that we need to look at.
“Those will come back – certainly more than we are saying at the moment – and we do need to look at that.
“Some of them go out there for nine months, some go out there for a year, some will just go out for six months or so.
“So we need to look at exactly how this is happening, what our border controls are like and we really need to bolster those border controls in order to ensure that we see the people coming through and deal with them.”