There has been a massive increase in the number of jihadists being stripped of their British citizenship, rising from a mere handful to around two every week, as authorities try to tackle a wave of returning fighters.
As the brutal Islamic State terror group begins to collapse in Syria and Iraq, it is feared that hundreds of member could return to the United Kingdom and begin to launch attacks, officials say.
Figures reported in The Sun reveal the government stripped British citizenship from 104 people and banned them from the country in 2017, which averages at around two a week.
This represents a significant increase from the year before, with just 14 losing their citizenship in 2016 and only five in 2015, when Prime Minister Theresa May was still Home Secretary and the Islamic State was at its peak territorially.
The government can only deprive people with dual nationality, or with the option of acquiring another nationality, of their British citizenship, as Britain adheres to international rules preventing governments from leaving a person stateless.
The numbers were released for the first time this week in as part of a Home Office transparency report, but the names of those banned from the United Kingdom were not made public.
However, members of the ‘ISIS Beatles’ group of British jihadists, which included Islamic State executioner Jihadi John, were likely included.
Security Minister Ben Wallace argued the move to block the jihadists from the country was about keeping Britain safe, and linked it to recent Islamist atrocities.
“The spate of terrorist attacks last year and the nerve agent attack earlier this year were a stark reminder of the real and significant threat this country faces from terrorism and hostile states,” he said.