Some 20,000 foreign fighters – including at least 3,400 Westerners – have joined the Islamic State's cause and are now fighting on the frontline in Iraq and Syria, according to estimates in a number of testimonies by American intelligence officials.


Of those 3,400 Islamic State (IS, ISIS) fighters coming from the Western world, as many as 150 Americans may have reached the battlefield, officials told the House Homeland Security Committee in testimonies prepared for delivery on Wednesday, according to AP. Others were arrested en route to the war zones, while some died in the area.

The chief of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, said the number of foreign fighters joining the jihadists in Syria and Iraq is growing at an unprecedented rate in comparison to foreign militants who went to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia in the past 20 years. The overall estimate of 20,000 foreigners in IS's army has been revised from 19,000, according to Rasmussen’s prepared testimony.


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