Washington, June 17: The Islamic State (IS) is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West, CIA Director John Brenn told the Congress, while confirming the Orlando gunman had no direct links to the extremist group. “IS has a large cadre of western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brenn, on Thursday told the Sete Select Committee on Intelligence, warning the group may infiltrate refugees into western tions. “Unfortutely, despite all our progress against IS on the battlefield and in the fincial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” said the intelligence chief.
According to Brenn, the IS has lost “large stretches” of territory in Iraq and Syria but still has about 18,000 to 22,00 fighters there and its branch in Libya is “probably the most developed and the most dangerous”, echoing concerns that Libya’s close proximity to Europe is a problem.
He testified to the Congress that the IS has between 5,000 and 8,000 fighters in Libya, plus some 7,000 in Nigeria and hundreds more in Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Moreover, “as the pressure mounts on IS, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its domince of the global terrorism agenda,” said Brenn. (IANS)