Al-Qaida foreign fighters expand its global reach

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. sanctions committee says al-Qaida's recruitment of foreign fighters has expanded its global reach, which could lead to new pan-Arab and pan-European networks of extremists.

Australia's U.N. Ambassador Gary Quinlan, who chairs the committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida, said in a report to the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe are grappling with the reality of returning "battle hardened foreign fighters."

Quinlan said al-Qaida and its affiliates have also become adept at taking advantage of shifting political situations and opportunities to bolster their activities, pointing to the move by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants away from Mali and Algeria to regroup in southern Libya.

He said al-Qaida's leaders are also getting younger.

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