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updated: 10/5/2017 8:30 AM

US: Myanmar crackdown could draw international terrorists

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WASHINGTON -- The State Department says Myanmar's crackdown that has caused an exodus of a half-million Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh could destabilize the region and invite international terrorists.

Patrick Murphy, a senior U.S. official for Southeast Asia, says the U.S. has urged Myanmar's civilian and military officials to take action to stop the violence.

He told a congressional hearing Thursday that despite government assurances that security operations halted Sept. 5, vigilantes are still reportedly committing arson attacks on Rohingya homes and blocking humanitarian assistance.

Rep. Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described it as ethnic cleansing and urged the administration to press harder for humanitarian access.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the committee's top-ranking Democrat, said the U.S. should consider imposing targeted sanctions on Myanmar's military.

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