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A German man who once played for a Jewish soccer team went on trial Monday accused of fighting for ISIS in Syria. The 20-year-old defendant - whose family is originally from Kosovo and who was identified only as Kreshnik B. due to Germany's privacy laws - was arrested at Frankfurt Airport last December after returning from the Middle East. The case marks the first time Germany has launched criminal proceedings against a suspected member of the terror group.
Authorities allege that Kresnik B. played for local Jewish soccer club Makkabi Frankfurt before he was later radicalized, possibly in a Frankfurt mosque. Germany's federal prosecutor alleges the defendant traveled to Syria via Turkey in early July 2013 with the intention of participating in "militant jihad" and joined ISIS. The federal prosecutor said in a statement that Kreshnik B. received weapons training, was deployed "in medical and guard services" and saw combat as an ISIS fighter. “Kreshnik B. allegedly took part in three battles in Syria,” Elmar Thevessen, terrorism expert for German public broadcaster ZDF, told NBC News. German officials estimate that up to 400 militants have traveled from Germany to Syria to fight, underscoring concerns that radical Islamists may return home and carry out attacks. "The challenge for European governments is to figure out a way to distinguish between those returnees who are still very dangerous and those whose disillusionment can be used to deter other young people from joining the fight,” Thevessen added.