RIYADH, March 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of 2,284 Saudis have joined terrorism groups outside the country over the past four years, an Interior Ministry spokesman told Al Hayat newspaper on Thursday.
The spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansoor Al Turki, said 645 of them have returned to Saudi Arabia, but the statuses of the others are unknown.
It is hard to know how many of them are alive, Al Turki said.
According to the newspaper, families of Saudis who died in suicide bombings are usually notified by representatives of the terror groups that hired them.
In February 2014, late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued a decree that calls for prison terms of up to 20 years for Saudis who join local, regional or international extremist and terrorist groups or those who publicly support or offer financial assistance to such groups.
In March 2014, Saudi Arabia announced a 15-day grace period for all nationals who were fighting in conflict zones to come back home and avoid legal punishment.