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Islamic State releases video to recruit deaf and mute

Two armed Islamic State fighters appear in the video directing traffic and using sign language in an attempt to show normal life in territories controlled by the group.

By Fred Lambert

RAQQA, Syria, March 8 (UPI) -- The Islamic State released a video on Sunday showing two militants using sign language in an attempt to attract deaf and mute recruits to the group.

The video, titled "From Who Excused To Those Not Excused," depicts two armed IS fighters directing traffic and issuing threats to the West with sign language.

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Alex Kassirer, an NBC News consultant and researcher at global security firm Flashpoint Intelligence, said the video "represents an attempt by the group to recruit other physically or otherwise impaired individuals, as well as demonstrates the multifaceted responsibilities of those in its ranks ... even traffic police in the Islamic State have a dual functionality, also serving in military roles."

The video comes one day after Nigeria's Boko Haram became the latest terrorist organization to declare an oath of allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared a caliphate in June 2014 after seizing swaths of land in Syria and Iraq.

Since then, Islamic extremist groups from the Philippines, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Afghanistan-Pakistan region have pledged allegiance to IS, while a U.S.-led international coalition has committed to a bombing campaign against the group called Operation Inherent Resolve.

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A series of publicized beheadings of Western journalists and aid workers by IS militants have galvanized international pressure on the group but have also had the dual effect of fueling its recruitment, especially in Europe.

"ISIS is a brand name," Samer Shehata, an associate professor of Middle Eastern politics at the University of Oklahoma, told NPR in November, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State. "It has widespread recognition, and in the eyes of many adherents, it's successful."

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