U.S wants global fight against Islamic State outside Middle East

U.S wants global fight against Islamic State outside Middle East

Thursday, August 1, 2019 11:32 pm

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The U.S. warned that the Islamic State (IS) extremist group remains a serious threat in spite of the defeat of the physical caliphate in Syria and Iraq, while cautioning that al-Qaeda has bounced back to its peak levels of strength.

Nathan Sales, the U.S. chief coordinator for counter-terrorism, told reporters in Washington that a global effort was needed to push back against Islamic State in places such as Afghanistan and across Africa, notably in Nigeria.

He said that the U.S. could not wage the war alone.

IS has “increased the lethality of attacks” and “expanded into new areas,” Sales said.

Meanwhile, James Jeffrey, the envoy to the international coalition to fight Islamic State, said that in areas of Syria and Iraq, IS still had roughly 15,000 fighters.

Some 2,000 foreign extremist fighters remain in the custody of the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the U.S. urging countries around the world to take back their citizens and bring them to justice.

According to Jeffrey, Islamic State maintains strongholds in Syria in territories outside the U.S. and SDF field of operations in the north-east, including regions controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As the world’s focus in recent years has turned to Islamic State, al-Qaeda has been able to make gains, Sales cautioned.

“Al-Qaeda is as strong as it has ever been,” Sales said.

U.S. officials have continued to decline to comment on reports that Hamza bin Laden, the son of the former al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, was killed. (dpa/NAN)

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