Twice as many French nationals have joined or are planning to join the Islamic State in 2014, marking a 116 percent increase from the previous year, the French government has revealed.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve unveiled the staggering statistics Wednesday at a meeting of France’s council of ministers, according to local radio station, France Info.
According to Cazeneuve, some 1,200 French nationals have left or have tried to leave the country since the beginning of 2014. Four hundred of them have already joined the ranks of the Islamic State or al Nusra Front — al Qaeda’s Syrian arm.
The number of French nationals who have returned from fighting in Syria (234) has also risen by 50 percent since the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition conducted its first wave of airstrikes against militant strongholds in August, the figures show.