A top United States general has expressed deep concern that a small number of motivated Islamic State fighters could commit acts of terror in Caribbean nations.
General John Kelly, commander of the Miami-based US Southern Command, or SouthCOM, told reporters Friday at the Pentagon that about 150 Islamic extremists left the Caribbean region to join Islamic State fighters in the Middle East last year, about 50 more than in the previous year.
However, he said, the biggest threat might not be the extremists who leave to train and fight with the Islamic State, but the ones who stay behind.
Kelly, who oversees US security in Latin America the Caribbean, said Islamic extremist groups seem to have a new message for would-be jihadists.
He estimated that about 150 radicals have attempted to join the Islamic State group as of this year, up from his estimate last year of roughly 100.
Last year, Kelly told the United States Congress that those who succeed in reaching Islamic State group territory “get good at killing and pick up some job skills,” such as working with explosives and beheading enemy fighters for propaganda purposes.