President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a serious threat to the United States.
The ISIL “has declared a caliphate, has proclaimed itself the Islamic Caliphate,” he said during an address at the University of Hawaii.
“We cannot allow ISIL to dominate the region.”
While ISIL has declared its presence in several parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish region, the president said the terrorist group has no presence in Syria.
He also said the group’s presence is only “in a few places,” and said the United State cannot afford to underestimate the threat posed by the extremist group.
“We have no choice but to be prepared and vigilant, and I think we can afford to be a little bit more cautious about what we do in a number of places in the Middle East,” Obama said.
Obama also said that the threat of terrorism is growing across the globe.
“It’s growing everywhere.
It’s growing in our communities,” he added.”
The fact that ISIL is able to threaten our country with attacks that they have no business doing is an extraordinary threat,” he continued.
“It is not only a threat to our country, it is an even greater threat to this great nation of ours.”
Obama also announced that the Department of Homeland Security is working with U.S. intelligence agencies to crack down on the flow of foreign fighters, both to and from Syria.
“While the United Kingdom and other countries are trying to prevent the flow into Europe of ISIL-affiliated fighters, the threat from those who are already here is growing,” he told the crowd.
Obama said that he wants to see “a better understanding” of what the Islamic militants are doing in the world.
“I want to see what we’re doing with our military in places like Iraq and Syria, where we can get the best and brightest,” he emphasized.
Obama’s speech came the same day that the U.K. government said it had arrested two men in the northern city of Kirkuk who were wanted for plotting an attack in the United Arab Emirates.
The men, who were apprehended in February, were allegedly planning an attack that would kill a British police officer and injure a security guard at the Iraqi consulate.