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Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of US forces in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said it is likely to take "a minimum of three years" to reach a turning point against the group. The Pentagon said that coalition airstrikes in Iraq since mid-November have killed "multiple senior and mid-level" Islamic State leaders. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court and said he was satisfied with his defense counsel. One of his friends, Stephen Silva, may plead guilty to possessing a gun used in the attacks. The Treasury Department yesterday imposed sanctions on "11 individuals and entities, located in four countries" for helping the Assad regime procure fuel for "its military campaign against the Syrian people." Today the State Department added Ajnad Misr, an Egyptian jihadist group, and Ibrahim Rubaish, a senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula official, to the terrorist list.




Since Dec. 15, the US and partner nations have conducted 61 airstrikes in Iraq and six in Syria against the Islamic State; 45 of the airstrikes in Iraq were in support of Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the region. President Obama announced the resumption of diplomatic ties with Cuba and Havana's release of US citizen Alan Gross and a prisoner exchange of a US intelligence "asset" for three Cuban spies. The FBI has indicated that North Korea is likely behind a major cyberattack at Sony Pictures; the company has pulled a film on North Korea that was slated for release. Uruguay's president has claimed that the six former Guantanamo prisoners recently transferred to his country were not terrorists.




ISIS broadens recruitment beyond fighters




US Seeks to Use Letters Found in Bin Laden Raid in Terrorism Trial




Since Dec. 10, the US has conducted 16 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, and the US and partners have carried out 29 airstrikes against the group in Iraq. President Obama told US troops: "The time of deploying large ground forces with big military footprints to engage in nation building overseas, that's coming to an end."




US asks Vatican for help with Guantanamo inmates




Syrian patriarch: To help Christians, stop flow of weapons




From Florida to al Qaeda: terror group's external operations chief spent last years at Iran-Pakistan-Afghan border




A Force to Fight ISIS Has Manpower, but Little Firepower




CENTCOM reported that since Dec. 8, the US has conducted seven airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State and the US and partners carried out 13 airstrikes against the group in Iraq. The US also released video of recent airstrikes in Syria. ISAF formally ended its Afghan mission on Dec. 8, and began preparing for NATO's Resolute Support training mission, which starts on Jan. 1. The US released the last three detainees from US custody at Parwan prison in Afghanistan. The CIA reacted to fallout from the release of a Senate report harshly criticizing the agency for its interrogation tactics in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.




Kerry seeks authority to target Islamic State affiliates anywhere




Ex-CIA Directors: Interrogations Saved Lives




Senate Panel Faults CIA Over Brutality and Deceit in Interrogations




Guantanamo 6 'will enjoy complete freedom' in Uruguay




US General Has Misgivings as Afghanistan Mission Ends




US General: Islamic State fighters on their heels in Iraq




Hostage, Nearly Released on Ransom, Dies During Raid




Israel accused of carrying out airstrikes near Syrian capital




Afghan official says Western troops leaving prematurely




The US released six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay, including Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, who had been assessed a "high-risk" detainee with extensive connections to al Qaeda's global network. The US handed over Latif Mehsud and two others detained by US forces in Afghanistan in 2013 to Pakistani authorities. US officials said the unsuccessful raid to rescue US hostage Luke Somers and Pierre Korkie, a South African, from AQAP in Yemen was undertaken after receiving intelligence that the two men were about to be executed.