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US defence chief in Baghdad to discuss war on IS


Ashton CarterUS Defence Secretary Ashton Carter flew to Baghdad Wednesday for talks on progress in the war against the Islamic State group, an official said.

Carter, who on Tuesday visited a Turkish base that has become a key hub for air raids against the jihadists, arrived in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday morning.

He was due to leave Iraq the same day after meeting Iraqi leaders and partners in the US-led anti-IS coalition, an official said on condition of anonymity.

US aircraft carry out daily air strikes against IS targets, most of them in the Iraqi part of the jihadists’ self-proclaimed “caliphate”, which also covers regions in Syria.

Out of the 11 strikes conducted by the coalition on Tuesday in Iraq, five were on targets in the area of Ramadi, which Iraqi forces are trying to wrest back from IS, according to a US military statement.

President Barack Obama said on Monday the US and its allies were hitting IS “harder than ever” and warned the extremists’ leaders: “You are next.”

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