US sharply raises estimate of number of Islamic State fighters

By REUTERS
September 12, 2014 21:34

 
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The US intelligence community has sharply raised its estimate of the number of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria to between 20,000 and 31,500, from its estimate in June of about 10,000.

A CIA spokesman said the new assessment reflected stronger recruitment by the radical Islamist group since June "following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence."

It was based on intelligence reports from May to August and was shared this week with Congress and senior U.S. officials.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an extension of U.S. military attacks on the movement from Iraq to Syria and is trying to build an international coalition to fight it militarily as well as politically and economically.

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