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The problem of electromagnetic wave scattering by heterogeneous dielectric bodies is formulated in a recursive manner by organizing their homogeneous subregions into hierarchical multiply-nested structures. The inner details of each multiply-nested body are completely accounted for by an equivalent surface representation that yields the electric and magnetic fields tangent to the body only in terms of a single unknown electric surface current density distributed on its outer surface. In this manner, the problem of wave scattering by heterogeneous dielectric bodies is reduced to a scattering problem over their outermost surfaces in terms of only a single unknown current density. For a large number N of different homogeneous dielectric subregions within such a heterogeneous body, the proposed method has a computational complexity of O(N1.5) and storage requirements that increase in proportion to O(N). Furthermore, the equivalent surface representation derived for a particular subregion is invariant under rotation and translation and may, therefore, be applied to identical subregions without repeating the computation. The fields at any interior points are calculated by a fast backward recursion.