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An invisible threat

Iraqi security forces are worried Islamic State fighters are hiding among civilians fleeing conflict

Iraqi authorities fear ISIS fighters may be hiding in plain sight among displaced civilians

This segment originally aired on VICE News Tonight on Dec. 21, 2016. 

More than 100,000 people have now escaped fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Many are women and children.

But there are also military-age males among the crowds arriving at camps for internally displaced people, or IDPs. Authorities are concerned that there may be Islamic State group (IS) “sleeper cells” among the people trying to leave. They fear IS fighters could slip out and launch attacks elsewhere.

Security forces are carefully checking names against their databases to look for signs of IS support. But, after years of occupation, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t have some connection to the jihadi terrorist group.

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