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Germany's new top security official says Islamic extremists traveling to Syria key concern

Germany's top security official says the number of Islamic extremists traveling to Syria is "extraordinarily high" and a key concern as he starts his second stint in the job.

Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday that some 240 radicals are known to have gone from Germany to Syria over the past year. He said his fear is that they could return "with combat experience and international contacts" to carry out attacks in Germany.

He stressed that the problem of homegrown radicals heading to Syria is not Germany's alone, with France and other European countries facing the same issue.

De Maiziere became Chancellor Angela Merkel's interior minister last month, returning from the Defense Ministry to a job he previously held between 2009 and 2011.