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U.N. warns of Islamic State's 'increasingly bold insurgent attacks'

U.N. warns of Islamic State's 'increasingly bold insurgent attacks'
The Islamic State terror organization killed at least 183 people, both combatants and civilians, in fighting and suicide bombings in southern Syria in July 2018. The United Nations said Islamic State attacks are increasing. File Photo courtesy of SANA/EPA-EFE

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Though largely defeated in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State militant group has reasserted itself in the region amid new leadership, the United Nations said in a report made public Wednesday.

The U.N. Monitoring Team, which tracks Islamist terror threats, said the militant group has mounted "increasingly bold insurgent attacks." Leadership also has called for planning the breakout of IS fighters from detention facilities and the exploitation of weaknesses in security in Iraq and Syria.

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The report, submitted to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 20, said that though leadership has changed with the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the succession of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, much of the strategic direction of IS hasn't.

"The reduction of forces of the United States of America has raised concerns among member states regarding the ability of security forces currently active in the northeast of the Syrian Arab Republic to maintain adequate control over a restive population of detained ISIL fighters, as well as family members, numbering more than 100,000," the report said, using an alternate acronym for IS.

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U.N. counterterrorism officials in August warned that though the Islamic State has lost much of its foothold in Iraq and Syria, the militant group was still a global threat with up to $300 million in its coffers.

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The group has influence through a network of affiliates from West Africa to Southeast Asia.

Al-Qaida dominates Syria's Idlib province, but also plays host to relocated IS fighters and their families. And the U.N. report describes security in Iraq's Anbar province as "permissive," allowing for the movement of militants.

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