British Isis Fighters Returning to the UK are 'A Threat That Must Be Eliminated'

British people who fought with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization should not be allowed back into the U.K., the defense secretary has said.

An estimated 800 British people traveled to territories controlled by Isis to join their fight. Around half of them have already returned to the U.K., according to the Soufan Center.

Gavin Williamson believes returnees represent a threat that needs to be eliminated.

"Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can't cause any harm to Britain," he told the Daily Mail.

"I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country. We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat."

Williamson said British forces were already targeting British militants abroad.

"Our forces are right across the globe degrading and destroying that threat, making sure that these people who want to bring destruction, death, bloodshed onto our streets aren't able to come back," he said.

"That is as important part of the jigsaw as what we actually do on the streets in Britain."

Isis flag
A flag of the Islamic State (Isis) is seen on the other side of a bridge at the frontline of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, on September 11, 2014. Thousands of "foreign fighters" traveled to the Middle East to join Isis. JM LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

When Isis emerged in 2014, it swept across Iraq and Syria and seized numerous territories and key cities.

In its pursuit to expand its dominion, the group called on fellow Muslim men and women around the world to join their fight, leading to thousands of "foreign fighters" travelling to the Middle East and living inside the captured towns and cities under its administration.

Now that the group is losing territories and fighters due to multinational offensives in Syria and Iraq, militants are returning to their countries of origin, including the U.K., where the issue of how the government should deal with returnees has been divisive.

A government strategy part of the so-called Operation Constrain—which aims to root out terrorism and tackle radicalisation—will offer terror suspects and returning fighters "council houses, psychological support and help to find a job".

Details of the strategy emerged earlier this year, after Max Hill, QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said "naive" and "disillusioned" returnees should be reintegrated in case they do not face prosecution.

However, Foreign Office minister Rory Stewart said those who left Britain to fight with ISIS pose a threat to the UK and should be killed in Syria, rather than being allowed to return.

In October, reports claimed that U.K. national Sally Jones, a notorious ISIS member and recruiter for the group, was killed in a U.S. drone strike near the Syria-Iraq border.