US-led military campaign focusing on Raqa, Mosul: Pentagon chief

An Iraqi army tank (R) fires toward Islamic State group positions near Baiji during a military operation to retake the strategic northern Iraqi town on October 17, 2015Raqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul are in the US-led coalition’s crosshairs as it tries to build on recent successes against the Islamic State group, Pentagon chief Ashton Carter said Wednesday. Speaking to troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky ahead of their deployment to Iraq, Carter said the recapture of the two cities, each emblematic of IS power, is key to the ongoing fight against the jihadists. Raqa and Mosul “constitute ISIL’s military, political, economic, and ideological centers of gravity,” Carter said, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

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