FBI Director James Comey warned Tuesday that the increasing success of the military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq carries an ominous downside: a wave of terrorist fighters who will spread across the globe as the group loses control of its territory on the ground.

“The so-called caliphate will be crushed. The challenge will be: through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people,” Comey said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on the global terror threat. “They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.”


“We must prepare ourselves and our allies particularly in western Europe to confront that threat because when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out they will try to come to western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people,” the FBI director said. He said the wave of fighters will be larger than the one that came out of Afghanistan after the war there in the 1980s.

Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) acknowledged that the territory governed by ISIL has decreased, but he said the campaign against the group has been so slow that the group is reconstituting elsewhere.
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