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Iraq seeks more US support to fight IS

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Iraq seeks more US support to fight IS
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Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Tuesday asked outgoing US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for more cooperation and support for Iraqi security forces in their fight against the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group, the government and media reports said.

The Iraqi prime minister made the appeal during his meeting with Hagel Tuesday at Abadi's office in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital Baghdad, Xinhua reported.

"The meeting focused on coordination of the military operations with the international coalition and on providing logistic support by the US-led coalition forces to the Iraqi forces, in addition to training and advice," Abadi's office said in a statement issued on its website.

Abadi asked Hagel for more air raids and heavy weaponry that Iraqi forces need in their fighting against the IS extremists, according to media reports.

"We are very thankful for the support that's been given to us. Our forces are very much advancing on the ground, but they need more air power and more heavy weaponry," Abadi told Hagel.

Earlier in the day, Hagel arrived in Baghdad in an unannounced visit to discuss the campaign of the US-led coalition against the extremist IS group with Iraqi leaders, and to be briefed by the US military commander in Iraq on the latest developments of the fight against the IS.

It is Hagel's first visit to Iraq as the Pentagon chief since he took office in February 2013.

Nov 24, US President Barack Obama announced the resignation of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. Hagel said that he would stay on the job until his successor Ashton Carter was confirmed by the Senate.

The security situation began to drastically deteriorate in Iraq June 10, when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and the IS group, who took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and later seized swathes of territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

Earlier, the US sought to build a coalition of both world and regional countries to push back against the IS's quick expansion.

So far, the US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the armed Islamist group in both Iraq and Syria.

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