In the wake of a series of terror attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was closely monitoring the situation, the Pentagon has said.
“The (Defense) Secretary is closely monitoring the aftermath of the brutal terrorist attacks over the past few days in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Responsibility for these attacks has not been established in all cases, but speculation has centered on ISIL,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.
These tragic events, he said, highlight why it’s so important to accelerate the coalition campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat in Iraq and Syria to further limit the group’s ability to carry out attacks in other parts of the world and to do all we can to prevent the spread of its hateful ideology.
“The attacks come as the counter-ISIL coalition has made progress in eroding ISIL’s so-called caliphate, recapturing key terrain including major cities, infrastructure and economic nodes that provide ISIL with revenue and fuel its claims of legitimacy,” he noted.
Cook said ISIL has lost the city of Fallujah, from which it has controlled much of western Iraq and launched attacks into Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces are making progress in clearing key terrain on the way to Mosul. Manbij, the final way station between ISIL’s so-called Syrian capital and the Turkish border, is surrounded by a tightening cordon of Arab troops, he said.
“At the same time, ISIL’s affiliates in places such as Libya, Afghanistan and East Africa are under intensifying pressure. This is notable and important progress from a year ago or six months ago, but as the tragedies in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia demonstrate, there is still much work left to do,” Cook said.