US officials are shocked at the “Islamic State’s rapid growth.” Now, the CIA estimates that the Islamic State has somewhere between 20,000 to 31,500 fighters within its ranks. That number may include “some 15,000 foreign fighters in Syria alone, including 2,000 Westerners,” Al Jazeera reported, which noted the estimate is “far more than first thought.”
Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria number around 20,000 to 31,500 — a figure far higher than previously estimated, the Central Intelligence Agency has said.The new calculation includes some 15,000 foreign fighters in Syria alone, including 2,000 Westerners, a U.S. intelligence official told the AFP news agency on Thursday.
“The number is much higher than a previous estimate of 10,000,” Al Jazeera continues.
The scope of the operation, including the territory covered, indicates that tens of thousands of ISIS fighters participated in the recent fighting. The group is estimated to have anywhere around 50,000 members, thousands of foreign fighters and is more of an army rather than a smaller extremist group.