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The Islamic State militant group that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq poses one of the most significant threats to stability in the Middle East in years. The Islamic State group holds roughly a third of Iraq and Syria, including several strategically important cities like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, as well as many of the roads linking the communities. Militarily, the group has seized heavy weaponry, including tanks, artillery pieces and surface-to-surface missiles. Human Rights Watch has accused the group of using ground-fired cluster munitions in at least one place in northern Syria. Despite their recent actions in the Middle East, the Islamic State group so far has shown little desire, let alone the capability, to launch major terrorist attacks in the West.



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