US assesses the growth, power of ISIS - CBS46 News

US assesses the growth, power of ISIS

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The U.S. intelligence community lays out its assessment of ISIS’s growth and movement for the future. (Source: YouTube/ Social Media/Islamic State/CNN) The U.S. intelligence community lays out its assessment of ISIS’s growth and movement for the future. (Source: YouTube/ Social Media/Islamic State/CNN)
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(CNN) – U.S. intelligence is doing an assessment to figure out what resources terrorist group ISIS has as it fights against Iraqi forces.

There is video that appears to show Iraqi police taking down as ISIS flag, defiance against the brutal Islamic militants the U.S. intelligence community not calls a credible alternative to Al-Qaeda.

After days of U.S. airstrikes, ISIS fighters in Iraq may be in hiding in some places, the U.S. says. It's leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi may have fled back to Syria, but more than 1 million Iraqis now on the run from ISIS, according to the U.N.

It's still grabbing territory and bolstering its ranks across northern Iraq and in next-door neighbor Syria.

” It's now increased to well over ten thousand fighters. So it does appear to have increased in numbers, it appears to be wealthier in part from its progress on the battlefield, and making money off of oil and banks,” Seth Jones of Rand said.

The U.S. intelligence community now doing a new assessment, trying to calculate how many fighters ISIS has, including foreign fighters mainly in Syria, and how many may be Americans.

The worry for the U.S. is westerners trained by ISIS could return home and plot attacks.

"We're concerned about those--this type of organization which is very dangerous and probably wants to try and prove itself in one way or another, uh, could go further along in its efforts to attack our homeland,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

U.S. intelligence agencies worry the momentum has brought ISIS thousands of new fighters, now armed with heavy weapons from abandoned Iraqi military bases – but it's not unstoppable – at least in Iraq.

"ISIS is not ten feet tall. It's vulnerable in part because its ideology does not appear to be well supported among Iraq's even Sunni population,” Jones said.

An even bigger problem is for ISIS is its place in the Jihad movement. So far, many of Al-Qaeda's strongest affiliate organizations in Yemen, North Africa and Somalia have not sworn their allegiance.

Many experts believe ISIS and Al-Qaeda will eventually fight it out for leadership of the global Jihad movement.

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