WASHINGTON: Hundreds of US, British and Canadian citizens who have trained with Islamic State fighters trying to carve out their own state in Iraq and Syria pose a “very serious threat” to the United States, a top Republican lawmaker said Sunday. Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, urged the Obama administration to aggressively prosecute US citizens who had trained overseas as it weighed options for how to respond to escalating violence by Islamic State militants in Iraq.
He said an attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels in May had shown a new push by extremist groups to carry out attacks on Western targets, and growing efforts to recruit backers on social media. “I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person who has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” Rogers told “Fox News Sunday.”
The United States carried out three air strikes on Saturday against Islamic State fighters near the besieged Shi’ite town of Amerli in northern Iraq and airdropped more than hundred additional bundles of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped there, the Pentagon said.
President Barack Obama last week authorized the new military action, broadening US operations in Iraq amid an international outcry over the threat to Amerli’s mostly ethnic Turkmen population. Washington is seeking to build an international coalition to fight against Islamic State forces.
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