WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The first known Western journalist to have embedded with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terror group blames former President George W. Bush for its existence.

German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, 74, spent ten days with the terror group in Mosul. Speaking with the German website TZ, Todenhöfer said that the U.S. air campaign against ISIS will have little effect on the group.

“With every bomb that is dropped and hits a civilian, the number of terrorists increases,” he said.

Todenhöfer pointed the finger at Bush for the rise of ISIS.

“Without George W. Bush’s Iraq war, there would be no IS,” he said.

Todenhöfer explained to TZ about the growing number of ISIS fighters, stating that hundreds arrive to support the group every day from around the world and that they have “dimensions larger than the U.K.”

He warned that ISIS is “much stronger and much more dangerous” than the West believes.

There is “an almost ecstatic enthusiasm that I have never encountered in any other warzone,” he said, adding that ISIS is planning “the biggest religious cleansing in history.”

Todenhöfer also said he was concerned he would suffer the same fate as American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff – getting beheaded on camera.

“Of course I have seen the terrible, brutal video and it was one of my main concerns during the negotiations as to how I can avoid [the same end],” he told TZ.

The extremist organization has been targeting its sophisticated propaganda to entice potential wives and professionals such as doctors, accountants and engineers in its efforts to build a new society.

Among those it has lured were three teenage girls from Colorado, who set out for Syria this fall after swapping Twitter messages about marriage and religion with ISIS recruiters, and a young woman who sought to fight there — or failing that, to use her nursing skills. It’s a diverse pool of recruits whose motives perplex Western governments seeking to combat the flow.

The group “is issuing a bit of a siren song through social media, trying to attract people to their so-called caliphate,” FBI Director James Comey told reporters. “And among the people they’re trying to attract are young women to be brides for these jihadis.”

The group conscripts children for battle, recruits Westerners for acts of jihad and releases videotapes of beheadings. But it also uses propaganda with a humanitarian appeal, such as photos of bombed-out Syrian villages coupled with pleas for help. Video images of smiling children being given treats and enjoying stuffed animals paint a family-friendly portrait that suggests roles within the proto-state for wives and mothers.

Even as they preach violence, “they’ll do the warm and fuzzy … the gun in one hand and the kitten in the other,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, head of the Justice Department’s national security division.

Justice Department officials say people aiding the Islamic State understand what they’re getting into and risk prosecution, whether or not they venture to Syria and even if they don’t plan to take up arms themselves. Prosecutors have criminally charged more than 15 people in connection with supporting Islamic militant groups.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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