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Pentagon: Islamic State recruitment 'a real problem'

General Philip Breedlove, U.S. European Command Commander and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, acknowledged during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday that "The issue of recruiting is a real problem."

By JC Finley
Pentagon: Islamic State recruitment 'a real problem'
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (r) returns a salute from Gen. Philip Breedlove, U.S. European Command Commander and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. (UPI/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/DOD) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A senior U.S. military official spoke Monday about the challenges posed by the Islamic State terror group.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, U.S. European Command Commander and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, acknowledged during a briefing at the Pentagon that "The issue of recruiting is a real problem."

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In order to counter IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, Breedlove said "when we get moderate Muslim voices coming from the mosques that speak out against these atrocities that we see in ISIS and others, that will help us with recruiting."

"It's hard to address recruiting until we begin to address those hearts and minds, and I believe that that starts with those good, moderate voices of Muslims across not only Europe, but the United States and other parts of the world.

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"... we need to hear the voices of moderate Muslims in the mosques to really get at the hearts and minds of what provides this recruiting base."

The general's comments were made as the Pentagon released the latest report of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeting IS in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

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Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, Inherent Resolve launched seven airstrikes in Syria, four of which were conducted near the IS-encircled border town of Kobane, and 16 airstrikes in Iraq.

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When asked Monday whether the airstrikes have impacted IS recruitment efforts, Breedlove cautioned that "I'm not going to tie recruiting to airstrikes," explaining, "I don't think I have any indications that give me clear indication that has deepened or lessened the recruiting."

According to U.S. Central Command, Operation Inherent Resolve was launched "to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose... The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project power and conduct operations..."

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