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IS Terrorist Group Still a Serious Challenge Worldwide

IS Terrorist Group Still a Serious Challenge WorldwideIS Terrorist Group Still a Serious Challenge Worldwide

Despite serious military setbacks, the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group may still have around 20,000 fighters and is continuing its dangerous transformation into a covert global network, while focusing on the activities of its regional offshoots, the United Nations Security Council was told.

These were among the key findings in a new United Nations report into the threats posed by IS presented to the UNSC on Thursday by senior UN counter-terrorism officials.

The report also detailed how UN member states and the UN system are continuing to strengthen, refine and promote the effective use of tools and measures to address the evolving transnational threat posed by the terrorist group and its affiliates, UN News reported.

Briefing the council, Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, said despite being militarily defeated in Iraq and in headlong retreat in Syria, IS remains a serious and significant concern.

Voronkov was joined by Michele Coninsx, Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). The two senior officials broke the report down into three main areas, assuring the council members that, "the global fight against IS and its affiliates continues."

Firstly, Voronkov said despite a major loss of territory, there are still around 20,000 IS members in both Iraq and Syria, and a core of fighters is expected to survive, thanks to ongoing conflict and instability. A significant number of IS-affiliated militants also exist in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Libya, and to a lesser extent in Sinai, Yemen, Somalia and the Sahel.

Secondly, whilst the flow of foreign IS fighters returning home is slower than feared, the dangers posed by bomb-making expertise gained in conflict zones is a major cause for concern.

And third, the evolution of IS (from a proto-state structure into a covert network) has driven the group's finances underground, making them much harder to detect. It still has the capacity to channel funds across borders, often via intermediate countries, to their final destination.

Referring to the report, Voronkov noted that member states and the international community must renew their efforts to counter the evolving, global threat from IS.

 

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