- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2014

The terrorist army known as Islamic State grown to between 20,000 and 30,000 fighters, according to the CIA, making the force targeted in President Obama’s new military offensive about three times the size previously estimated.

A CIA spokesman told Fox News that the Islamic States, also known as ISIL or ISIS, could “muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.”

“This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence,” the spokesperson said.

The CIA previously estimated the Islamic State had about 10,000 fighters.

In a speech to the nation Wednesday, Mr. Obama vowed to “destroy” the Islamic States, which has overrun vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and brutally beheaded two American journalists. His plan includes increased air strikes, arming more moderate Syrian rebel fighters and assembling an international coalition to attack the terror group.

Mr. Obama said he is sending 475 more U.S. military advisors to support Iraqi military but promised not to deploy military combat troops to join the fight.

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