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Coalition, Iraq to 'turn up the pressure' on IS group: Kerry

AFP , Friday 8 Apr 2016
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US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed Friday that America and Iraq will "turn up the pressure" on the Islamic State group, and said that retaking its stronghold Mosul is a "top" priority.

"In the coming weeks and months, the coalition will work with Iraq to turn up the pressure even further. We will continue targeting and taking out (IS's) leaders, and we will train local forces to take and hold more ground," Kerry told journalists in Baghdad.

Kerry said that retaking Mosul, the jihadists' main stronghold in Iraq, "is at the top of the list in terms of priority."

But operations aimed at recapturing the city are still in the early phase, he said.

Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Friday for an unannounced visit, his first to the country since 2014.

He met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

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