In recent years, radical changes have transformed the international terrorism landscape, with violent extremists helping to destabilize several Middle Eastern and North African countries and attacks by homegrown terrorists plaguing the West. In the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has taken over a third of Iraq and Syria, subjecting residents to a harsh form of Islamic law and persecuting or killing those they consider enemies. Currently, however, U.S. officials believe that Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) presents the greatest threat of a catastrophic attack on the United States. Potential “lone wolf” attackers, among those returning home from Syria and others radicalized by online propaganda, also pose a threat to both the United States and other Western countries

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