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Homegrown terrorists to target concerts, sporting events, Homeland Security warns

Homegrown terrorists to target concerts, sporting events, Homeland Security warns

Top counterterrorism official says Islamic State’s ability to strike in U.S. not ‘significantly diminished’

By Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times – Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The nation’s top counterterrorism official testified Tuesday that the world’s army of terrorists is “broader, wider and deeper than any point since 9/11,” the day al Qaeda attacked America.

Nicholas Rasmussen, who directs the National Counterterrorism Center, said the Islamic State may be losing ground in Iraq and Syria but its ability to strike abroad, including in the U.S., “has not thus far been significantly diminished.”

The nation is facing a phase in which people quickly radicalize and launch simple but deadly attacks before authorities have time to detect them, he said.

His testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee conflicts with upbeat reports from the White House, which has focused on territorial losses in Syria and Iraq as signs that the Islamic State is being defeated.

“Even ISIL’s leaders know they’re going to keep losing,” President Obama said in August. “In their message to followers, they’re increasingly acknowledging that they may lose Mosul and Raqqa, and ISIL is right … they will lose them. And we’ll keep hitting them and pushing them back and driving them out until they do.”

The Islamic State group, also known as ISIL, ISIS and Daesh, has set up its so-called capital in Raqqa, Syria, and controls Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq.

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