Over 2,000 Saudi jihadists said fighting abroad
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Over 2,000 Saudi jihadists said fighting abroad

Kingdom’s interior ministry says 70% have joined Islamic State in Syria, with others in Yemen, Afganistan, Pakistan, Iraq

Shiite fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) flash the sign of victory from the back of a truck as they drive towards the village of Umm Sijan, south of Mosul, on October 31, 2016 during Iraqi forces' operation to recapture the main hub city from Islamic State (IS) group's jihadists. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)
Shiite fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) flash the sign of victory from the back of a truck as they drive towards the village of Umm Sijan, south of Mosul, on October 31, 2016 during Iraqi forces' operation to recapture the main hub city from Islamic State (IS) group's jihadists. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

More than 2,000 Saudis are fighting abroad with jihadist groups, with over 70 percent of them in Syria, the kingdom’s interior ministry was reported as saying Monday.

“The number of Saudis proven to be in conflict areas is 2,093,” interior ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told daily newspaper Al-Hayat.

He said that 1,540 of them were in Syria, where jihadists have flocked since the Islamic State group seized control of vast areas in mid-2014.

Another 147 were in Yemen, which is the base of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the global terror network.

Another 31 were believed to be in Afghanistan or Pakistan, Turki said.

Only five were believed to be in neighboring Iraq, where IS also seized significant territory in 2014.

Turki said 73 Saudis had also been detained abroad “on charges related to acts of terrorism.”

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