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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

U.S. military personnel could help develop better intelligence on the ground and help with some logistics

Gen. Votel warned that Iran may pose a greater threat to U.S. interests in the region in the long term

(CNN) —  

A top general said more U.S. troops will be needed to retake key areas from ISIS and has sent recommendations outlining that request up the chain of command.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, pointed to the need for “additional capability” to retake the ISIS stronghold of Mosul in Iraq, as well as Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate.

“Clearly there are things that we will want to do to increase the capability a bit, to be able to increase the pace of operations, and that will require some additional capability,” Austin said.

“We have gone through and done some analysis … to see what types of things we need to provide,” he continued. “And we have made those recommendations.”

While Austin declined to share the recommendations in the hearing, he said additional U.S. military personnel could help develop better intelligence on the ground, potential provide more advise-and-assist teams and help with some logistics.

“We could increase some elements of the Special Operations footprint,” he explained.

Whether to field additional troops is likely something Austin’s expected successor, Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, will have to confront when he takes over leadership of Central Command.

Votel, who testified in his current capacity alongside Austin, is scheduled to have his nomination hearing for the CENTCOM position before the same committee Wednesday.

In his testimony, Votel said that ISIS poses the greatest immediate threat because of its immediate abilities and desires to attack beyond its base in Iraq and Syria.

But he warned that Iran may pose a greater threat to U.S. interests in the region in the long term.

When pressed on the current status of the effort to retake Raqqa, Votel said there is a “strategy” in place to eventually take the city from ISIS. But perhaps in a nod to the various ethnic realities in a region with Arab and Kurdish forces, Votel said there is currently no plan in place on how to hold Raqqa.

In Syria, Austin said he has asked for “permission” to restart a program to train and equip indigenous forces to go after ISIS “using a different approach” from the previous program that ended in failure after graduating only a handful of troops.

The new program would focus on a smaller set of people to train who would then “enable” larger groups allied with the U.S. and its allies inside Syria to learn from that training once the forces re-enter the battlefield.

Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who also testified Tuesday, said the growing threat posed by ISIS inside Libya requires the United States and its international allies to “do more,” calling the North African country a failed state.

While the United States continues to push for a political settlement in Libya that would allow the formation of a functioning government, the United States has also recently launched airstrikes against ISIS leaders and facilities as the group’s presence continues to grow.

And as the United States continues its efforts to train and equip the security forces in Afghanistan, Austin said a “review” of the current plan to reduce the level of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by the end of the year is in order based on the changing nature of the situation there since the battle plan was drawn up.

“When the situation changes so that those facts are no longer valid or the assumptions that you made are no longer appropriate, then I think you have to go back and revisit your plan,” he said.