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Pentagon chief: U.S. to increase air, ground raids on Islamic State

By Amy R. Connolly
Pentagon chief: U.S. to increase air, ground raids on Islamic State
The U.S. is increasing pressure on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria with an expanded air campaign and more ground raids, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services committee Tuesday. Photo by Billy Weeks/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The United States is stepping up its pressure on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria with an expanded air campaign and more ground raids with a focus on high-value targets, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Carter, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee, said "we won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL...or conducting such mission directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground." The IS is also known as Daesch, ISIS and ISIL.

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Carter said the new tactic will focus on "three Rs: Raqqa, Ramadi and Raids." The U.S. will put pressure on the IS strongholds of Raqqa in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq. The idea of more raids builds on Carter's statements there would be additional operations similar to last week's raid on an IS-held prison to free dozens of hostages. Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed in the incident.

The new move comes after the Pentagon dropped a program to train and equip a 15,000-person rebel force over three years.

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