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Friday, 20 June 2014
Tracking Syria Fighters Now Main Task for MI5
MI5 are devoting the greatest amount of their casework to tracking jihadists leaving the UK for Syria - and returning, as Frank Gardner reports
Tracking British jihadists fighting in Syria is now the top priority for MI5, the BBC has learned.
It comes after a video appeared to show UK jihadis in Syria trying to recruit people to join them there and in Iraq.
The Home Office said counter-terror police were working to get the video - posted by internet accounts linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) militants - taken off line.
The father of one of the men in the video said it made him "want to cry".
Medical student Nasser Muthana, 20, from the Cardiff area, appears in the footage using the name Abu Muthanna al-Yemen.
Nasser Muthana's family said they were "heartbroken" he had gone to Syria
Isis has made rapid advances through Iraq in recent weeks.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said its fighters are plotting terror attacks on the UK.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said MI5 was having to prioritise the greatest amount of its casework on tracking British jihadists in Syria.
An estimated 400-500 UK fighters have been recruited by Isis, which has a presence in Syria and is engaged in fierce fighting with Iraqi government forces.
The video footage features six armed men, sitting in front of the black flag of Isis.
One of them, a Briton identified as Abu Dujana al Hindi, says he has a "message to the brothers who have stayed behind".
The video cannot be verified, but BBC correspondent Paul Adams said it came from social media accounts with known links to Isis and had probably been filmed in Syria.
"It appears to show British jihadis intent on joining the fight in Iraq," he said.