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Iraq presses Hagel for more U.S. air strikes, weapons

GAZA-TSHISA NEWSROOM

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pressed outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday for more air strikes and weaponry to accelerate what he called the “descent” of Islamic State.

The plea underscored tension in the U.S.-Iraqi relationship, with Baghdad pushing for more aggressive assistance than Washington has provided so far, four months after President Barack Obama launched air strikes against IS in Iraq.

The militant group was “on the descent at the moment”, Abadi told Hagel as the two met at the prime minister’s offices in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. “Our forces are very much advancing on the ground. But they need more air power and more … heavy weaponry. We need that.”

Hagel, speaking to journalists afterwards, said he had held candid talks with Abadi and that delivery of some weapons had already been accelerated.

Obama ordered U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011 but sent…

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