French Study Finds Jihadist Terrorists Very Likely to Re-Offend

Men, suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group, gather in a prison cell in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on October 26, 2019. - Kurdish sources say around 12,000 IS fighters including Syrians, Iraqis as well as foreigners from 54 countries are being held in Kurdish-run …
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

A study released by the French Centre for Terrorism Analysis (CAT) has revealed that 60 per cent of Islamic radicals who left France to fight abroad between 1986 to 2006 have gone on to commit terrorist offences.

The study looked at French Muslims who had fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The researchers found that the majority of those who returned to France later went on to engage in terrorism.

Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the CAT, commented on the findings, saying: “Until now, international studies of all identified jihadists around the world concluded with a re-engagement rate [with terrorism] of 11 per cent. French statistics are even more worrying.”

While 40 per cent of the returning jihadists have not engaged in actual terrorism after getting to France, newspaper Le Figaro reports that many still have not given up on their racial Islamist ideology and even promote it to younger generations.

Those who travelled to fight in Iraq during the early 2000s saw the largest rate of recidivism after returning to France, with 100 per cent of the 16 extremists continuing their terrorist actions, compared to just 39 per cent of those who travelled to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The study comes as France is set to release 2,540 radical Islamists from prison by the year 2022, over 300 of them directly linked to terrorist convictions and many of them having returned from Iraq or Syria after fighting for groups like Islamic State.

Many of the Islamists set for release were radicalised while in prison, with the French Court of Auditors claiming at least 498 “detainees susceptible to radicalisation (DCSR)” will be released from 2020 to 2022.

A total of 10 prison guards have been injured in six separate attacks conducted by Islamists between 2018 and 2020. Other Islamists have plotted terrorist attacks from within prison.

In 2017, two prisoners in Fresnes prison were caught plotting a terrorist attack that was set to take place upon their release. The pair had managed to get into contact with Islamic State members using phones smuggled into the prison.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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