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900 French jihadi in Iraq and Syria, en route

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PARIS (AP) — France's top security official says nearly 900 French citizens have gone to Middle East battlegrounds and some have joined the Islamic State group.

Despite efforts to discourage French people from joining militant groups, the figures given Wednesday by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve show the numbers of French youth leaving continue to grow.

"There are today nearly 900 from France who are part of this phenomenon, either in the theater of operations in Syria or in Iraq. There are presumably some in Iraq because the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which recruited them, takes them to all the places where it is engaged in combat," Cazeneuve told France Info radio.

Security officials fear European militants will ultimately turn their skills against their homelands.

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