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Nation & World

U.S.: Al-Qaida affiliates surge, attacks on the rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says a surge in aggressive al-Qaida affiliates in the Middle East and North Africa poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and allies. It also says Iran remains a major state sponsor of terrorism and continues to defy demands it prove its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, even as Washington pursues negotiations on that front.

In its annual global terrorism report, the State Department said Wednesday that losses in al-Qaida's core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan have "accelerated" the network's decentralization. That's resulted in more autonomous and more aggressive affiliates, notably in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, northwest Africa and Somalia, it said.

On Iran, it said Tehran persisted in supporting Palestinian terrorist groups, boosted its presence in Africa and tried to smuggle weapons to separatists in Yemen and Bahrain.

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