Ayman al-Zawahri

UN report: Up to 30,000 Islamic State members in Iraq, Syria

The Islamic State extremist group has up to 30,000 members roughly equally distributed between Syria and Iraq and its global network poses a rising threat — as does al-Qaida, which is much stronger in places, a United Nations report says.

The report by U.N. experts circulated Monday said that despite the defeat of IS in Iraq and most of Syria, it is likely that a reduced "covert version" of the militant group's "core" will survive in both countries, with significant affiliated supporters in Afghanistan, Libya, Southeast Asia and West Africa.

The experts said al-Qaida's global network also "continues to show resilience," with its affiliates...

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