Saturday, July 21, 2018
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

CIA chief says ISIL 'formidable' despite setbacks

ISIL has tens of thousands of fighters and retains ability to conduct attacks around the world, CIA director warns.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) remains "formidable" and "resilient" despite efforts to defeat it militarily, the director of the CIA has warned, adding that the group has tens of thousands of fighters around the world - far more than al-Qaeda had at its height.

John Brennan told the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday that ISIL was losing ground in Syria and Iraq but the group retained its ability to conduct attacks around the world.

"Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group's terrorism capability and global reach," he said.

"In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda."

'Global challenge'

Brennan said that ISIL has a "large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West".

His comments came a few days after an attack at a gay nightclub in the US city of Orlando left 49 people dead - the worst mass shooting in US history.

READ MORE: Shock and grief after Orlando shooting

The shooter, Omar Mateen, had called 911 during the attack at the Pulse nightclub early on Sunday to express his allegiance to ISIL.

But Brennan said the CIA has found no connection between the Orlando shooter and a foreign "terrorist" organisation.

He added that the CIA was sharing intelligence with the FBI to help identify potential lone-wolf attackers, but the agency's responsibility was to gather information about operations overseas.

"This is a global challenge," Brennan said. "The number of ISIL fighters now far exceeds what al-Qaeda had at its height."

He said there were 18,000 to 22,000 ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq - down from about 33,000 last year.

The branch in Libya, with between 5,000 and 8,000 fighters, was likely the most advanced and most dangerous, but ISIL was trying to increase its influence in Africa and to plot attacks in the region and in Europe, Brennan said.

He added that Boko Haram was now the ISIL branch in West Africa and had several thousand fighters.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Amnesty condemns blocking probe int...

Read More

Hotel group launches lawsuit agains...

Read More

Explained: Who are the far-right Pr...

Read More

After backlash, Trump says misspoke...

Read More

Astronomers find 10 new moons aroun...

Read More

Pressure mounts on Ortega as UN cal...

Read More


Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:


Deal comes after 4 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in latest violence near fence between Gaza and Israel.

Read More



Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Israel pounds Gaza

Thailand cave boys

2018 World Cup