Legion of Foreign Fighters Battles for Islamic State

The number of foreign fighters who have joined the Islamic State terrorist group during the past 3½ years is more than twice the number of those serving in the French Foreign Legion, according to an article released by the Associated Press on Wednesday.

One independent Western estimate says between 16,000 and 17,000 people have taken up arms on behalf of the Islamic State, mostly men and a small number of women from 90 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States and many Western European nations.

The influx of foreign fighters comes as the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, works to further develop the self-declared “caliphate.”

Beyond fighting, Islamic State members also work as doctors, judges, engineers and scholars. In a videotaped statement, one recruit from Canada said, “Every person can contribute something to the Islamic State.”