This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP)
Free Syrian Army spokesperson says brutal jihadi group quietly making inroads in villages near Golan by offering aid in exchange for services to be named later
The Islamic State terror group is operating sleeper cells in southern Syria near the border with Israel, a spokesman for the opposition’s Free Syrian Army charged Sunday.
The spokesman, speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to communicate with Israeli media, said that some of the 6,000 Islamist fighters who fled southward toward the borders with Israel and Jordan in July actually belong to the Islamic State, not to the less extreme Nusra Front as previously believed.
The two Islamist organizations had clashed militarily in a struggle for control over oil-rich northeastern Syria, in which the Islamic State triumphed. The Times of Israel could not confirm the information, which was recently conveyed to the spokesman from a number of different sources.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Ann Curry, denounced ISIS for its savagery but also branded the U.S.-led coalition against the terror group as "ridiculous." Speaking from the presidential palace in Tehran ahead of his visit to the United Nations, Rouhani questioned President Obama's decision to go after ISIS with airstrikes.
"Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?" Rouhani said.
"If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice? Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice.
The union representing America's immigration caseworkers warned Thursday of the "real and serious threat" that Islamic State terrorists could gain entry to the United States, either by slipping through the southern U.S. border or exploiting "loose and lax" visa policies.
Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, issued the warning in a written statement. He's the latest to raise alarm that the Islamic State may be planning to infiltrate the U.S., though top security officials have said they see no evidence of such a plot at this stage.
Palinkas specifically alleged the administration has made it easier for terrorists to "exploit" the country's visa policies and enter the homeland.
He complained that the administration has "widened the loophole" they could use through the asylum system, and has restricted agents from going after many of those who overstay their visas.
The Islamic State issued a video in response to President Obama's vow to "degrade and ultimately destroy it," displaying a preview that it would kill American ground forces even though he ruled out putting boots on the ground, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The 52-second clip produced by the Al Hayat Media Center, the Islamic State's media wing, boasts high-quality images and filming techniques. It shows tanks blowing up in slow motion, injured American soldiers and explosions superimposed over images of U.S. military figures.
The video also features shots of President George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner, President Obama and the White House and militants about to carry out executions.
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