More than 1,000 Islamists have reportedly left Germany to aid terror groups in Syria and Iraq. And more than half of them hold German passports.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the figures come from an answer given by the government to a question from the parliamentary representatives of the Left Party.

The government also cited security authorities as saying that more than half of those who had left Germany for such conflict zones had German passports, the newspapers said in their report.

The figure given by the government shows a further increase in the number of those travelling abroad as jihadis, but indicates that the rate of departures has slowed considerably in comparison with two years ago.

According to DW, dozens of German Islamists are in prison in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. However, many others, including women and children, have since returned to Germany.

During coalition negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservatives and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), it was agreed that returning fighters with double citizenship should have their German nationality revoked.

Despite criticism, Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), Armin Schuster defended the measure, saying that a jihadi who was no longer German could be sent back at the border.