By RYAN GORMAN
Hundreds of American citizens are among the roughly 12,000 ruthless fighters backing the ISIS-led Islamic State's reign of terror in the Middle East, according to a new report.
The shocking revelation comes only days after video of journalist James Foley, a U.S. citizen, was released showing him savagely beheaded by a terrorist with a British accent.
American and European officials are concerned about the growing numbers of their citizens taking up the mujahedeen cause, according to the National Journal.
"ISIS today represents a direct and growing threat to the United States... including hundreds of Europeans and Americans who can travel freely with Western passports," according to the Journal.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the outgoing director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, lamented the inability of Western governments to stop these individuals from returning home radicalized and ready to strike.
"Some have both the intention and some capability to attack the United States homeland... we're doing all we can to understand the outflow of foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq, many of them with Western passports," he told the Journal.
This growing threat is cited as one of many justifications President Obama might be able to use to declare war on the Islamic State.
The White House has so far not indicated it is willing to engage the terror group in an all-out war and has instead relied on air strikes to take out key targets.
Foley's executioner directly blamed these air strikes for the journalist's grim death. The continuation of such a strategy was also said to keep Time reporter Steven Sotloff's life in the balance.
A similar strategy of air strikes in 1986 in Libya is believed by many to have led former Libyan dictator Muammar Ghadaffi to order the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 two years later over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Foley execution video going viral is exactly what ISIS wants
American journalist James Foley apparently beheaded in ISIS video
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