Global threat from Islamic States remains high: UN chief
United Nations, June 7 (IANS) The global threat emanating from Islamic State (IS) remains high, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said in a report.
The continued military pressure exerted in Iraq and Syria by international coalition forces has led to serious military setbacks for IS, Xinhua quoted Ban as saying in the report issued on Monday.
“However, even though the territorial expansion of IS in both states (Syria and Iraq) has been halted and, in part reversed over recent months, many (UN) member states have noted that IS is not yet strategically and irreversibly weakened.”
“A worrying factor is that no member state has reported that IS is short on, or lacks, arms or ammunition,” he said.
Over the past six months alone, “Islamic State has carried out, inspired, or claimed responsibility for, terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the US,” he said.
“The attacks have killed more than 500 individuals and injured hundreds more.”
National law enforcement agencies continue to investigate those attacks, but it is already clear that they were coordinated by foreign terrorist fighters who had returned to Europe from IS-held territory in Syria, Ban noted.
“This demonstrates the ability of IS returnees to quickly link up and draw on the support of established radical networks and supporters of Al-Qaeda and thereby enhance their newly acquired terrorism skills with local knowledge and support,” he said.
The secretary-general also said: “Significant numbers of foreign terrorist fighters continue to travel from states around the world to join IS in Iraq and Syria.”
He said this while citing a report from a member state saying that around 38,000 individuals may have attempted to travel to the region in the past few years.
“Countermeasures taken by states to detect and deter foreign terrorist fighters, and increased controls at the borders of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, may be affecting the numbers of such fighters able to join IS.”
The UN Security Council has maintained that IS, also known as Daesh, poses a threat to international peace and security, calling upon all UN member states to fight the terrorist group, including making the joint efforts to cut off funds for it.
Ban called for strengthened international cooperation to fight IS and other terrorist groups in the world.