House Homeland Security chief issues warning about global ISIS threat

February 28, 2018 GMT

The Islamic State is still mounting deadly attacks that offer “a stark reminder of its reach” despite recent defeats in Iraq and Syria, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Wednesday.

“Even after the collapse of the so-called caliphate, ISIS remains a dynamic and credible threat to the West and America continuing to inspire and radicalize people over the internet in the homeland and abroad,” Rep. Michael McCaul said in a statement, referring to the radical militant group by an acronym.

Underscoring the so-called caliphate’s growth outside of Iraq and Syria, the Department of State announced Tuesday that seven Islamic State-affiliated groups have been designated as terrorist organizations. The move specifically targeted Islamic State affiliates in Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Somalia, Tunisia and West Africa.

In late December, Iraq announced its war against Islamic State was over when Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi held a press conference in Baghdad to declare that the Iraqi-Syrian border was finally completely controlled by Iraqi troops after years of fighting the radical extremists. The Russian military also declared it had defeated the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.

At the time, the State Department welcomed what it called the end of the Islamic State’s “vile occupation” in Iraq, but also vowed to continue fighting the group.

“I commend the State Department on their continued vigilance in identifying the spread of ISIS-affiliated groups and key leaders around the world,” said Mr. McCaul, Texas Republican. “The two terror attacks in New York City late last year are stark reminders of their reach. These new designations will help degrade ISIS’ global network by denying them the resources they rely on to spread terror.”

The State Department also designated two of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s key followers in Africa as global terrorists; Mahad Moalim the deputy leader of the upstart Islamic State group in Somalia and Abu Musab al-Barnawi the head of Baghdadi’s representatives in West Africa.