'Jihadi terrorism' cases swell in Switzerland

GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss government says the terrorism threat has increased this year, and police and intelligence services are now handling about 70 cases involving "jihadi-motivated terrorism."

The Federal Council, the country's seven-member executive, says it's considering stronger measures against extremism such as stopping suspected jihadis from leaving the country. The federal department of justice and police is to look into the effectiveness and consequences of such measures.

A new report on terrorism-tracking compiled by the Swiss federal police and intelligence service shown to the council last week and made public Monday points to the Europe-wide phenomenon of jihad-motivated trips to Syria, with women and children increasingly joining men to travel.

The council said the federal prosecutor has opened criminal proceedings into about 20 of the 70-odd cases and will begin handing out indictments this fall. Switzerland has documented far fewer cases than larger European countries like Britain or France.

Federal police spokesman Alex Rechsteiner said the 70 cases include would-be jihadis who traveled to conflict zones like Syria and Iraq, as well as others behind suspicious Internet activities or logistics planning at home. The report said the intelligence service had tallied 40 departures.