Islamic State (IS), the terrorist group responsible for the deaths of men, women and children across Iraq and Syria, has reported at least doubled in size from foreign recruitment. Some experts believe the group’s ranks have tripled in size.
CNN reports that U.S. officials originally believed that there were approximately 10,000 active IS members. Now a CIA spokesman says that there are “between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.”
"This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity and additional intelligence,” the spokesman said.
The CIA source said 15,000 IS troops are foreign; that number includes an estimated 2,000 Westerners. IS ranks represent 80 countries, the CIA spokesman reported.
Hamad al-Tamimi, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, was recruited by IS online. He has now been captured by Iraqi authorities. Al-Tamimi said, “There are many nationalities. From Norway, from America, Canada, Somalia, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon and other European countries such as Germany and France."
Publication date: September 12, 2014