Dutch intelligence chief explains why kids are on terror watch list

ISIS Struggles to Recruit, Pay and Retain New Fighters
ISIS Struggles to Recruit, Pay and Retain New Fighters

BERLIN — More than a dozen children are on the terror watch list in the Netherlands, an official said Monday.

Rob Bertholee, the head of Dutch intelligence, told a conference that around 250 people have left his country to wage jihad overseas in Iraq and Syria — including at least 60 women and many children.

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Dutch authorities have identified a total of 17 minors that are receiving or have received combat training, Bertholee added.

He said children as young as 9 years old have been recruited for combat training.

He declined to comment on whether any of the child fighters have returned to Europe, saying only that his country's decision to include minors on terror watch lists is because "we cannot rule out any scenarios."

European officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the threat of foreign fighters returning home to carry out attacks.

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Originally published