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Islamic State Looks for Oil, Recruits in Africa


Offshore oil platforms are seen at the Bouri Oil Field off the coast of Libya August 3, 2015. Oil prices lurched 5 percent lower on Monday to their lowest since January, taking global benchmark Brent below $50 a barrel as weak factory activity in China deepened a commodity-wide rout. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Offshore oil platforms are seen at the Bouri Oil Field off the coast of Libya August 3, 2015. Oil prices lurched 5 percent lower on Monday to their lowest since January, taking global benchmark Brent below $50 a barrel as weak factory activity in China deepened a commodity-wide rout. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)


The United States says it is concerned about the Islamic State group attracting recruits and acquiring resources in North Africa.

The forces fighting against IS in Syria and Iraq are retaking ground and oil fields.

While this is seen as a success, one U.S. government official says there is concern about recruits coming from Libya and parts of Egypt.

Anti-IS fighters in the northern part of Iraq are taking back territory and oil revenue. So IS looks for new sources of income.

Iraq’s largest refinery was taken back from IS in October.

President Barack Obama says IS has lost 40 percent of the area it once controlled in Iraq.

In Syria, IS controls about 80 percent of the oil fields. But one U.S. official says production is slow and the group is not earning as much money from oil as it once did.

Oil refineries and transport trucks are targets, and oil prices are down by about half since 2014.

One U.S. official says IS is “looking at the oil assets in Libya and elsewhere. But we’ll be prepared.”

Libya’s oil industry has suffered since the country’s civil war started in 2011.

That makes Libya a potential recruiting ground for IS.

One defense official says “Libya is the next big thing for ISIL.”

I’m Dan Friedell.

VOA Defense Department Correspondent Carla Babb wrote this story. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Do you think North Africa is the next recruiting ground for IS? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

acquire – v. to get something

asset – n. a valuable person or thing

recruit – n. a person who has recently joined a company, an organization, the armed forces, etc.

refinery – n. a place where the unwanted substances in something (such as oil or sugar) are removed : a place where something is refined

income – n. money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc.

potential – adj. capable of becoming real

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