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Foreigners joining Islamic State rise, US says

WASHINGTON — The US bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria has failed to slow the pace of foreign fighters flocking to join the Islamic State and other extremist groups, including at least 3,400 from Western nations among 20,000 from around the world, US intelligence officials say in an updated estimate of a top terrorism concern.

Intelligence agencies now think as many as 150 Americans have tried and some have succeeded in reaching the Syrian war zone, officials told the House Homeland Security Committee. Some of those Americans were arrested en route, some died in the area, and a small number were still fighting with extremists.

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Nick Rasmussen, chief of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is without precedent, far exceeding the rate of foreigners who went to wage jihad in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in 20 years.