Some American citizens who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State militants have already returned to the United States, White House officials reportedly confirmed on Monday.
A senior White House official told reporters that the FBI is currently “looking at” the individuals, including “those who’ve gone, those who’ve tired to go, some who’ve come back and are under active.”
It’s estimated that as many as 100 Americans have traveled to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State, the Washington Times reports. The Obama administration has not revealed any credible threats made against U.S. targets by the terrorist group.
More from the Times report:
Mr. Obama will preside at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council this week to lobby foreign leaders to join a U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State. One measure he’s seeking is tighter visa restrictions to prevent some would-be militants from traveling to Syria and Iraq.
Security analysts say the biggest threat from the group are those Americans who are able to travel to Syria and Iraq and train directly with Islamic State jihadists.
“The threat is primarily from the current U.S. passport holders that have been able to make it out of here,” said Dafna Rand, deputy director of studies at the Center for a New American Security. “The secondary threat is to stop the pipeline of Americans that want to go fight there.”
The Islamic State group released a new audio recording online late Sunday in which a spokesman urged Muslims worldwide to kill civilians of those nations that join the fight. A French citizen was kidnapped by suspected Islamic militants while hiking in a mountainous Algerian region that is a known hideout for North Africa's al-Qaida branch, officials said Monday.
The U.S. is looking for major participation from nations in the region in the campaign to destroy the Islamic State group. President Barack Obama has pledged that no American troops will be involved in combat missions against the group, and the U.S. expects nations in the region to provide those.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.