PLYMOUTH, N.H. -- As hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries descend upon Europe in search of a safe place to live, Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker said Sunday the United States must address the "core of the problem" by fighting the Islamic State.

"The reason people are fleeing is because of the problems with the Islamic State and the leadership there," Walker told reporters on Sunday night during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. "Containment is not enough. We see it’s a threat to us, it’s a threat to Israel, we see it's increasing a threat to people all around the world."

Walker said the United States should immediately lift "political restrictions" on the few thousand troops already in Iraq so they can better fight the Islamic State. During his first foreign policy speech last month, Walker focused heavily on "radical Islamic terrorism" and called for the elimination of these "agents of pure evil." Walker has accused President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, now the Democratic presidential frontrunner, of staying "on the sidelines" as the terror group has grown. Walker said then that Syria has become a "magnet for radical Islamic terrorism" and that defeating the Islamic State will not happen as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in power. Walker called for the U.S. to recruit and train more fighters in Syria who are opposed to Assad and the Islamic State, along with enforcing a no-fly zone.

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In the meantime, Walker would not say if the United States should accept more refugees. Instead, Walker said the U.S. must send "a strong message" by immediately upping its attack on the Islamic State. Earlier in the day, Pope Francis called upon every European parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary to take in one refugee family.

"What we should be doing is dealing with ISIS," Walker said. "Until we deal with ISIS, we’re avoiding the core of the problem. The problem is that ISIS is running amok in these parts of the world, and the U.S. needs to step up."

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