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Washington — Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.

The freshman senator from Kentucky, who supports a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, says the GOP’s foreign policy hawks, in his words, “created these people.”

The Islamic State group, commonly referred to as ISIS, has seized a strategically important swath of the Middle East and in recent days made gains in central Iraq. The group is notorious for mass executions.

Paul told MSNBC on Wednesday that “ISIS exists and grew stronger” because Republican hawks supported giving out arms in the region “indiscriminately” and many of those weapons fell into the hands of the extremists.

Some of the other Republican presidential contenders say Paul is too weak on foreign policy.

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