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US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

by VOA News May 04, 2016

The United States along with allies from 11 other countries met in Germany to discuss the joint efforts in their campaign against Islamic State.

In a joint statement, released after the meeting, the group reaffirmed its support "to further accelerate and reinforce the success of our partners on the ground and for the deployment of additional enabling capabilities in the near term" in order to hasten the collapse of Islamic State's control of Mosul and Raqqa in Iraq.

"We called on all of Iraq's political leaders to commit themselves to the legal and peaceful reconciliation of political differences in order to confront the nation's challenges and to remain united against the common enemy," it added.

Defense ministers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain and the Britain participated in Wednesday's session at the U.S. military's European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

The meeting, which was a follow up to February's session in Brussels, comes a day after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq.

"Now, this fight is far from over and there are great risks and we were reminded of this yesterday when an American service member - Petty Officer First Class Charles Keating, a Navy SEAL - was killed while providing advice and assistance to the Peshmerga forces north of Mosul, who are directly in the fight [against the Islamic State group]," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday. "These risks will continue and we greatly regret his loss."

Meanwhile Wednesday, coalition forces announced that they conducted 22 strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday. The strikes were conducted in coordination with Iraqi forces.

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.

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