BERLIN — The flow of women traveling to Iraq and Syria to wed jihadis has "significantly increased," according to one of Germany's top intelligence officials.
Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of domestic intelligence agency BfV, told NBC News that several teenage girls had also left their homes in Germany to join militants who are members of groups such as ISIS.
He cited "romantic blindness" for the determination of girls aged as young as 15 to be smuggled to Middle East "to become the second or third wife" of an Islamist fighter.
"The number of women traveling to Syria and Iraq has significantly increased, at least in comparison to a few years ago when young people went to Afghanistan and Pakistan," Maassen added.
Asked about the threat posed by such women returning to the West, Maassen said it was unclear "whether they would be willing to commit an attack here or if they only see themselves in the role of a supporting Islamic wife."
Officials say that more than 550 people have left Germany for Syria and Iraq. The BfV is currently monitoring 180 people who have returned to Germany from the ISIS conflict zone.
Maassen also highlighted the importance of cooperation with the United States, describing the relationship as "good and trustful."