WASHINGTON: The Islamic State (Daesh) has suffered major losses in Iraq and Syria but retains the ability to conduct attacks around the world, CIA Director John Brennan warned Thursday.
“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group´s terrorism capability and global reach,” he told senior US lawmakers, using an acronym for the IS group.
A US-led coalition bombing IS group fighters in Iraq and Syria since August 2014 has pushed the jihadists out of several important cities, including Ramadi in Iraq.
Strikes against IS cash hoards and oil smuggling infrastructure have also affected the jihadists´ financing.
But the IS group is quick to innovate and is making up financial shortfalls through new taxes and continued smuggling, Brennan said.
And as the group´s physical stronghold diminishes, it continues to pursue attacks elsewhere. “We judge that ISIL is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks,” Brennan said.
“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West.” Brennan´s appearance before the US Senate Intelligence Committee comes days after the biggest mass shooting in modern US history, when Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people in Florida gay nightclub.
Brennan said the CIA had not found any direct links between Mateen and any foreign terror group although the gunman pledged allegiance to the IS group and other organizations as he carried out the attack.
Courtesy : TheNews