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Joint efforts blunt ISIL's advance in Iraq: U.S. defense chief

English.news.cn   2014-08-22 08:05:27
 • U.S. airstrikes and military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish security forces have stalled the advance of ISIL. 
 • This assistance helped the Iraqis retake and hold the Mosul Dam, U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel said.
 • According to Hagel, the Defense Department is continuing to explore all options regarding ISIL.

 

'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is more than a traditional terrorist group. It is beyond anything we've seen and poses a greater terrorism threat than Al Qaeda', Hagel said on Thursday.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey hold a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the United States, Aug. 21, 2014. "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is more than a traditional terrorist group. It is beyond anything we've seen and poses a greater terrorism threat than Al Qaeda", Hagel said on Thursday. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)


WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. airstrikes and military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish security forces have stalled the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces around Erbil, Iraq, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday.

This assistance helped the Iraqis retake and hold the Mosul Dam, which, if breached, would have threatened the lives of thousands of Iraqis as well as American personnel and facilities, Hagel said during a news conference.

"The United States led an international effort to address the humanitarian crisis that unfolded at Mount Sinjar," the secretary said. "As there continues to be an acute humanitarian need elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. appreciates the partnership of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy and Australia and the United Nations in helping provide relief. I expect more nations to step forward with more assistance in the weeks ahead."

While the airstrikes and other assistance created an opening for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to snatch back the initiative from ISIL forces, air attacks will not be enough to remove the terrorist organization from Iraq, Hagel said.

According to Hagel, the Defense Department is continuing to explore all options regarding ISIL, including continued assistance to moderate forces in Syria. And President Barack Obama's request to Congress for 5 billion dollars to establish an antiterrorism fund included 500 million dollars for moderate Syrian opposition forces who are also battling ISIL.

The murder of reporter James Foley by ISIL forces is just one example of the ruthless, barbaric ideology of the group, he noted.

"ISIL militants continue to massacre and enslave innocent people and persecute Iraq's Sunni, Shia and Kurdish and minority populations," added the defense secretary.

Acknowledging that the U.S. doesn't have the luxury to write ISIL off just because they're operating in far-off countries, Hagel said the organization is absolutely an imminent threat to the safety of America and Europe.

Related:

White House says trying to verify video of American journalist's killing

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The White House said it is trying to determine the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of an American journalist, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.  Full story

Obama vows long-term strategy against ISIL

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday vowed to pursue a long-term strategy to turn the tide against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as Iraqi and Kurdish forces retook the Mosul Dam from the group under U.S. air cover.  Full story

Editor: Shen Qing
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