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US Mobilizes Allies to Widen Assault on ISIS

The US has begun flying surveillance missions over Syria to gather intelligence on the Islamic State. The US denied a report that it is sharing intelligence with the Assad regime. Defense Secretary Hagel said that in addition to the US, seven other Western countries are providing weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq fighting the Islamic State. The IS is demanding a ransom of $6.6 million for the release of a 26-year-old female American aid worker who was kidnapped last year in Aleppo; the terror group is also insisting on the release of US prisoners including Aafia Siddiqui, who has been dubbed "Lady al Qaeda" and is currently serving an 86-year term for attempting to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. US citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, of San Diego, Cal., was killed while fighting for the IS in Syria.

Obama says rooting out Islamic State will not be easy

Libyan raids herald bolder Arab action as US wavers

ISIS an 'Incredible' Fighting Force, US Special Ops Sources Say

US and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other

Qatar seeks to free more US hostages in Syria: source

Officials said the US is getting ready to launch intelligence and surveillance flights, including drones, over Syria, and that airstrike options are also being considered. In response to Syria's offer welcoming US airstrikes on the Islamic State so long as they are coordinated with Syria, US officials indicated that they do not plan to collaborate with or even inform Syria of any such action. US officials said they were surprised at reports that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out recent airstrikes against Islamist targets in Libya.

Report: Gunman in 2011 'green-on-blue' attack did not commit suicide

US Says It Told Qatar Not to Pay a Ransom for Kidnapped Journalist

US prepares military options in Syria against Islamic State

Islamic State goes from 'junior varsity' to all pro in 8 months, Admiral Kirby says

General Dempsey, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if and when he finds that the Islamic State is plotting direct attacks on the US homeland or Europe, then he will recommend that the US take military action against the group in Syria. He also said the group should be constrained and defeated in partnership with US allies in the region, including Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The US has carried out 96 airstrikes against the Islamic State so far in Iraq, 62 of which took place near Mosul Dam. The top ISAF commander said that over the past eight months, Coalition bases in Afghanistan have been consolidated from 85 down to 42, and that by early November fewer than 24 bases will still be operating, many of them housing special operations troops.

Peter Theo Curtis, Abducted in 2012, Is Released by Nusra Front

US strikes in Syria against Islamic State would be hindered by intelligence gaps

When will the US, Europe wake up to the threat of radical Islam?

Theresa May: New laws to tackle British jihadists

UN calls for immediate action to avert massacre in besieged Iraqi town

A top adviser to President Obama said the administration is considering its response to the Islamic State threat, will do "what is necessary" to protect Americans, and will not be "restricted by borders." Joint Chiefs Chair General Dempsey floated the idea of containment. Senator James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned that ISIS members are "rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major US city and people just can't believe that's happening." An Aug. 9 Twitter posting appears to show a downtown Chicago building on June 20 with the threat that ISIS soldiers "will pass from here soon." A US official said that more than 100 US citizens have tried to fight in Syria. A classified Pentagon assessment said that Iran is continuing its buildup of weapons near the Strait of Hormuz while toning down its military rhetoric. Dias Kadyrbayev, a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, pled guilty to hampering the investigation.

US hostage rescuers dropped from night sky, Syria activist says