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Islamic State Generating 'Militant Affiliates' Beyond Iraq and Syria, U.S. Intelligence Officials Say

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"prospect of a new global war on terror."

Islamic State fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, last year. (Image source: AP/Militant Website, File)

Setting its sights beyond Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State is generating "militant affiliates" in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, the New York Times reported, citing American intelligence officials.

All of which raises the "prospect of a new global war on terror," the paper said.

Islamic State fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, last year. (Image source: AP/Militant Website, File) Islamic State fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, last year. (Image source: AP/Militant Website, File)

More from the Times:

Intelligence officials estimate that the group’s fighters number 20,000 to 31,500 in Syria and Iraq. There are less formal pledges of support from “probably at least a couple hundred extremists” in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen, according to an American counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information about the group.

Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in an assessment this month that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, was “beginning to assemble a growing international footprint.” Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, echoed General Stewart’s analysis in testimony before Congress last week.

It isn't certain, however, if the affiliates will prove effective, the Times said. It's also possible that it could be more of an "opportunistic rebranding by some jihadist upstarts" who are looking to sign up new militants.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

(H/T: The Huffington Post)

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