IS `not invincible,` weakened by air strikes: US official

Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria pose a genuine threat to the West but are "not invincible," and US air strikes have exposed their weaknesses, a top US intelligence official said Wednesday.

AFP| Updated: Sep 03, 2014, 23:51 PM IST

Washington: Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria pose a genuine threat to the West but are "not invincible," and US air strikes have exposed their weaknesses, a top US intelligence official said Wednesday.

Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, said there is no "credible" evidence that IS fighters are plotting an imminent attack on America but acknowledged the group could eventually try to strike at the United States.

US bombing raids in Iraq over the past month have shown the militants are vulnerable to concerted action on the battlefield, Olsen said at an event organized by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

"Because of the successes of these strikes, ISIL (IS) is losing arms, its losing equipment and its losing territory," Olsen said.

Iraqi government, Kurdish and US forces taking joint action in recent weeks "have revealed that ISIL is vulnerable to coordinated and effective military action," he said.

"The strikes have begun to sap ISIL`s momentum and created the space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to take the offensive," said Olsen.

He said the outrage caused by the group`s brutal tactics and its setbacks on the battlefield showed IS extremists are "not invincible."

As head of the NCTC, Olsen oversees intelligence assessments of terror suspects and potential threats to the United States.

He said it was important to keep the IS threat "in perspective," saying the militants were dangerous but not equivalent to the threat presented by Al-Qaeda before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"At this point, we have no credible information that ISIL is planning to attack the United States," he said.