The militant insurgent group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the "most serious threat" the Middle East has had since the al-Qaida terrorists of the 9/11 era, and poses a "growing menace" to the United States, said Gen. Jack Keane.
"Actually, it dwarfs what the so-called 9/11 al-Qaida used to be," Keane told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Monday. "This is a growing menace to the United States. And it already is a menace to the Middle East," the retired four-star Army general added.
Keane warned that the United States needs to act quickly to stem the advancement of ISIS in the Middle East. ISIS, which has claimed territory in Syria, has also overtaken large swaths of land in Iraq. As the number of radical Islamists joining ISIS grows, Keane said it is a movement that is "literally on the march."
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"I believe now, while time is of the essence, because this is a growing movement with hundreds of fighters joining this movement, we should get after them," Keane said.
If the threat ISIS poses is not addressed now, Keane said the United States will "have to deal with it eventually." He said there are targets in Syria and Iraq of "station bases, equipment storage areas, command and control facilities, and sanctuaries" the United States could target that could hinder the expansion of ISIS.
Keane said that left unattended, ISIS provides a "breeding ground for terrorist fighters" from other areas in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. ISIS could train fighters who could "gain experience, gain insight, and return home and conduct lethal acts against their homeland."
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