Many of the estimated 250 Americans who have traveled overseas since 2011 to join or try to join the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) have been able to reenter the United States without being arrested or monitored, reveals a report issued by the House Homeland Security Committee.
The report does not provide any additional information on the “several dozen” Americans who have snuck back into the U.S.
The 66-page report states:
Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined or attempted to fight with extremists in the conflict zone.
“These fighters pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Armed with combat experience and extremist connections, many of them are only a plane-flight away from our shores,” it adds. “Even if they do not return home to plot attacks, foreign fighters have taken the lead in recruiting a new generation of terrorists and are seeking to radicalize Westerners online to spread terror back home.”
The foreign fighters who have traveled to join ISIS come from more than 100 countries.
“Of the hundreds of Americans who have sought to travel to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq, authorities have only interdicted a fraction of them,” the report acknowledges. “Several dozen have also managed to make it back into America.”
The House panel noted that several Americans were identified and apprehended trying to return to the United States while others are being monitored.