MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Up to 40 Americans who went to the Middle East to fight along Islamic State (IS) militants are believed to have returned to the US, warned Tim Bishop, the US Representative for New York's 1st Congressional District, Fox News reports.
The congressman added that the number of the US citizens who have joined the radical Sunny group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is a concern. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that,” he said in a recent speech. The lawmaker tried to allay legitimate concerns by saying that “those 40 individuals are under FBI attention and surveillance. So they are known and they are being tracked by the FBI.”
Bishop also said that “at the present time the intelligence is ISIS does not present a threat” to the US but warned that might change in the future.
Earlier, in August, it was reported that the US government is tracking up to 300 Americans fighting in Syria and Iraq, according to Washington Times. However, the Pentagon estimates the number of US citizens, who joined radical groups in the Middle East, to be far less – approximately 100. Only a dozen of those are fighting alongside Islamic State militants who currently control large parts of Syria and Iraq.
Many inside the US government are concerned that some of the fighters will return home and use their newly acquired skills to commit a terrorist act on the US soil. “We remain mindful of the possibility that an ISIL-sympathizer could conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning,” said Matthew G. Olsen, director of the US National Counterterrorism Center, during a hearing before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security on September 17.