Recruiting Campaign: ISIS Tentacles Spread Far, Wide
Its terror has spread from Syria and Iraq to Libya and other parts of Africa. The radical ideology that drives ISIS to kidnap, murder and behead people in Iraq and Syria is gaining influence around the world, including America.
The news comes as U.S.-led coalition forces continue to bombard ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria, taking out some of the terror group's major targets.
ISIS lost the key Iraqi city of Tikrit, and Iraqi security forces have made some gains against their fighters in Ramadi. The key is holding that territory.
CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck says the U.S. and other world leaders aren't willing to do what it takes to defeat the Islamic State.
"The will is not there, and ISIS is not some 800 pound gorilla," Stakelbeck said. "Yes they have some 30,000 to 40,000 foot soldiers if not more in the heart of the Middle East and control some 30,000 square miles of territory. Yes they are a formidable force in the Middle East, but they're no match for the might of the United States military or of European nations."
But despite tough battles in Iraq, with wins and losses, the influence of ISIS -- and other radical Islamist groups -- is still scoring victories by making new converts from other countries.
There have been several cases in the U.S. just in the last week. In Minnesota, four of the six men accused of trying to join ISIS will remain in jail until their trial. The other two defendants will appear in a California court.
U.S. Attorney General Andrew Luger says the suspects had been making their plans for 10 months.
"To be clear, we have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota and this case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here," Luger said. "These are focused men who are intent on joining a terrorist organization by any means possible."
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old woman from Alabama left her family to join ISIS after being recruited on the Internet.
And a South Carolina teenager who plotted to join ISIS and kill American soldiers has been sentenced to five years in prison. The 16-year-old planned to rob a gun store near Raleigh, North Carolina, and attack a U.S. military base before traveling to Syria.
ISIS is recruiting followers in other countries as well.
Three school girls from London have reportedly joined an all-female ISIS militia in Syria.
In France, a 24-year-old technology student planning an attack was captured this week after he accidentally shot himself. Authorities say he was planning to target at least one church. A French prosecutor says al Qaeda and ISIS documents were found in the suspect's apartment.
ISIS believes in establishing a caliphate, an Islamic state, and not only is it gaining ground in the Middle East, it's also gaining recruits through its videos and Internet marketing. And those recruits who join ISIS in Iraq and Syria may return to their home countries to launch attacks, including right here in America.
While recent arrests show that officials are succeeding in foiling the Islamist groups efforts to recruit, authorities don't see ISIS lure receding any time soon.