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US worried about ISIS’ ability to provoke violence

By: Michael Bowman Source: VOA News CAPITOL HILL— U.S. officials are warning of Islamic State’s ability to inspire violent deeds around the world, including in the United States, without commanding or having any direct contact with terrorists. “We are in a new phase of the global terrorist threat,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told a U.S. Senate panel Thursday. “We have moved from a world of terrorist-directed attacks to a world that increasingly includes the threat of terrorist-inspired attacks, one in which the attacker may never have come face to face with a member of a terrorist organization, but instead is inspired by the messages and propaganda of...

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Raqqa: civilians flee as city comes under siege

By: Jamie Dettmer Source: VOA News GAZIANTEP, TURKEY – U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out intense airstrikes Tuesday on Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of the Islamic State group, a monitoring group said, continuing days of air-raids that appear to be aimed at demoralizing jihadist fighters before an offensive by Kurdish-led forces on villages to the north of the city. The airstrikes appear targeted mostly on IS defensive positions on the outskirts of the city. This may be to try to avoid civilian casualties, although civilian deaths have been reported. Raqqa political activists have been warning that IS is using civilians as human shields, spreading fighters and their...

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Iraq: Fallujah Civilians in danger as gov’t moves against ISIS

By: Sharon Behn Source: VOA News IRBIL – United Nations officials are worried about thousands of families who may be trapped in Fallujah, as Iraqi forces start an offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS/IS) militants. “Now that the shelling has started, we understand people are desperately trying to leave,” Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq told VOA. Grande said some 30 families, more than 100 people, had managed to escape on May 21 before the aerial bombardment started. Others are reported to have died trying. People have been fleeing via exit routes identified by the Iraqi army. Some 10,000 families, or roughly 50,000 people are believed to be...

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