France to ban 'around 40' from leaving for jihad: Minister

France`s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that around 40 more people would lose their right to travel outside France because they planned to join jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria.

AFP| Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015, 00:11 AM IST

Paris: Six French citizens have had their passports confiscated and 40 more will be banned from leaving the country as Europe cracks down on would-be jihadists planning to travel to Syria and Iraq.

This is the first time France has resorted to the measure since its introduction as part of a raft of new counter- terrorism laws in November.

"If French people go commit attacks in Iraq or in Syria, on their return they will present an even greater danger of carrying out large-scale terrorist attacks on the national territory," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters.

"There are currently six administrative bans on leaving the country that have already been signed, and around 40 that are being prepared," he added.

The passports and identity cards of those targeted have been confiscated for six months, after which the order can be renewed.

Such efforts are being mirrored across Europe after hundreds have travelled to the Middle East to join jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in recent years.

Jihadist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen this year have further focused minds.

Denmark recently passed a law, which is to come into force on March 1, allowing travel bans and the removal of passports from those suspected of seeking to join terrorist groups.

Britain, where the government says some 500 people have already travelled to join jihadist groups, has already confiscated dozens of passports.

The government has not given up-to-date figures but admitted in November that it had withdrawn 24 passports, and has since updated its laws to make the process easier and allow for people to be temporarily banned from re-entry to the UK.