Germany tightens travel ban for jihadist suspects

Germany will tighten a foreign travel ban on known Islamists to stop them heading to war zones such as Syria, the cabinet decided today, a week after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Berlin: Germany will tighten a foreign travel ban on known Islamists to stop them heading to war zones such as Syria, the cabinet decided today, a week after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The law is the first of a host of previously planned security measures which Chancellor Angela Merkel's government wants to speedily pass through parliament in the coming weeks following the bloodshed in France.

"The horrific events in Paris... Showed once more, in a depressing manner, that we must strongly defend our democratic constitutional order with all legal means against international terrorism, fanaticism and radicalisation," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

German authorities can already confiscate the passports of known jihadists, but under the new law they will also be able to take away their national identity cards, which can be used for travel to Turkey and within the EU Schengen no-visa area.

Suspects will instead be handed replacement ID cards for periods of up to three years that are stamped with a no-travel advisory in several languages.

More than 600 German citizens have taken part in the fighting in Syria and Iraq, and about 60 have died there, the newspaper Rheinische Post reported, citing security sources.

About 180 are believed to have returned to Germany.

At least 20 Islamists used their identity cards to reach the war zone after having their passports confiscated, Die Welt daily reported Tuesday.

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