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US Starting to Withdraw Forces in Iraq Following Defeat of ISIS

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Iraq arrests ISIS* oil chief

He was among a small number of Americans to join al-Nusra in Syria, an extremist group linked to al-Qaida.

At the US-held base of al-Tanf, near Syria's border with Jordan and Iraq, one rebel fighter linked the resurgence to US-Iran tensions, which are likely to intensify after Washington announced this month that 2,000 US troops would remain in eastern Syria to deter Isis and counter Iran's growing presence. He died in a suicide bombing in Syria.

But just months after the last big Isis strongholds were retaken in Syria, and Russian Federation and Iran declared the jihadis had been defeated, rising tensions and new territorial ambitions among the worldwide forces have shifted the focus away from the remaining Isis pockets.

Beyond the 12 who returned, an estimated 24 Americans died on the battlefield. In August 2016, the army recaptured the Qayyara oil-producing regions south of Mosul from forces loyal to the Islamic State, cutting access to ISIS' main source of revenue in the region. A former US counterterrorism official told NBC News that Turkey has jailed fighters and seized their passports.

While defeated on the battlefield, USA military planners have expected ISIS to switch to insurgent tactics, carrying out high-profile terror attacks in Iraq.

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While no American has returned and carried out an attack, one man, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud of OH, planned to do so. "This individual was apprehended in the early planning stages of their plot". He pleaded guilty to plotting the attacks and last month was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

"We are clear the enemy is still capable of offensive action and retains the ability to plan and inspire attacks worldwide", Braga added.

"'Homegrown' extremists now appear to be more likely to commit domestic jihadist attacks than returning travelers". The majority came from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Instead, ISIS recruiters have been reduced to calling for believers to "avenge" the destruction of the caliphate. "The lessons learned ... should serve as a basis to understand the current threat and prevent a next wave of recruits, '" said Hughes, an expert on terrorism, homegrown violent extremism and countering violent extremism.

Hadithi's statement came in confirmation of reports by Western contractors at a US -led coalition base in Iraq, who said USA troops had started to withdraw from the country.

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