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Pentagon chief arrives in Iraq to discuss ISIL

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has made an unannounced visit to Baghdad for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about the fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

Carter’s arrival in Baghdad on Monday coincided with the arrival of Canada’s Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan.

This is the Pentagon chief’s fourth visit to Iraq since beginning his job in February 2015.

“What I’ll be discussing with Prime Minister Abadi and our commanders there are the next plays in the campaign, which involve the collapse and control over Mosul,” Carter told reporters aboard a military plane ahead of his visit.

US officials said Carter would also meet Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi, as well as US Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, the head of the US-led coalition battling ISIL.

The Iraqi army together with fighters from the Popular Mobilization units has been engaged in operations to liberate Daesh-held regions.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.

The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and others.

The terrorist group has lost 12 percent of the territory it already held in Syria and Iraq in the first half of 2016, a British think tank says.

Wahhabism, which forms the ideology of Daesh, is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by clerics in the Arab country.

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