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Islamic State persists despite territory loss: Pompeo

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The Islamic State group remains a threat in Syria and Iraq, and in some areas has even gained power despite the elimination of their “caliphate”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

“There are places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago,” Pompeo said on CBS’s “This Morning” show.

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“But the caliphate is gone in their capacity to conduct external attacks, it’s been made much more difficult,” he said.

“We’ve taken down significant risk. Not all of it, but a significant amount. We’re very pleased with the work that we’ve done.”

US President Donald Trump declared early this year that US-led forces in Syria and Iraq had achieved “100 percent victory” over the Islamic extremist group after a campaign to eliminate their redoubt in the Euphrates river valley in Syria.

But many fighters are believed to have melded into the population, and the group maintains small strong holds in remote locations in Iraq.

A report by the Pentagon’s Inspector General earlier this month said IS is transitioning “from a territory-holding force to an insurgency in Syria,” and has firmed up its insurgent capabilities in Iraq.

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The US drawdown or reassignment of some security forces in the region has left some room for the group to rebuild, the report said.

The Islamic State has “established ‘resurgent cells’ in Syria and sought to expand its command and control nodes in Iraq,” it said.

IS has also become a potent threat in Afghanistan, where it acts independent of the Taliban, which is currently negotiating a peace deal with the United States.

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On Saturday the IS took credit for a suicide bombing of a wedding in Kabul that killed 63.


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Pennsylvania teen issues violent threat to defend friend from racism accusation: ‘I can show you what a real hate crime is’

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A Pennsylvania man was charged with making terroristic threats after a Black teenager accused his friend of being racist.

A friend of Andrew Smith, of Chalfont, attacked a Central Bucks West High School student by name and used racial slurs, reported the Bucks County Courier Times.

Smith's friend, who has not been charged, lashed out at the teen for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and said her views “make me wanna commit a black hate crime,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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2020 Election

Trump’s strategy isn’t working in Pennsylvania — a state the president can’t afford to lose: report

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Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio are the four states that GOP strategists have been describing as President Donald Trump’s “Rust Belt firewall” — states that went to President Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 but favored Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. But that “firewall” has not been holding up for the president. Trump’s reelection campaign has "temporarily" suspended its advertising in Michigan, although it continues to advertise in the other three — all of which are clearly in play for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. And Philadelphia-based reporter Holly Otterbein, in an article published in Politico on August 2, stresses that so far, Trump’s attacks on Biden have not been resonating in Pennsylvania.

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2020 Election

A 2020 ‘Blue Wave’ could badly cripple the Republican Party for years: Dem strategist

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In a column for New York magazine, Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore claimed that a "Blue Wave" election in 2020, like the one that switched the balance of power in the House to the Democrats, could have a far-reaching impact on congressional representation in elections to come.

In 2018, distaste for Donald Trump -- who was not on the ballot -- led voters to take out their wrath on Republican lawmakers, handing Democrats a net gain of 40 seats in the House and making Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the House Speaker.

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