U.S. President Barack Obama has touted progress made by U.S. and international troops against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group but said lone-wolf attacks by IS followers will continue to be a problem.
"I am pleased with the progress that we've made on the ground in Iraq and Syria," Obama said on August 4, though "we're far from freeing Mosul and Raqqa," IS strongholds in the two countries.
As IS has lost ground on the battlefield, he noted, it has stepped up efforts to inspire and organize grisly assaults on civilian targets abroad.
"They've seen the degree of attention they can get with smaller-scale attacks using small arms or assault rifles," Obama said. "The possibility of either a lone actor or a small cell carrying out an attack that kills people is real."
IS "networks are more active in Europe than they are [in the United States], but ... it's conceivable that there are some networks here that could be activated," he said.
"How we react to this is as important as the efforts we take to destroy [IS]," he said. "When societies get scared they can react in ways that undermine the fabric of our society."