US Defence Secretary in Iraq for talks on anti-ISIS fight

2015-07-23 19:05
Ash Carter (AP)

Ash Carter (AP)

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Baghdad - US Defence Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit on Thursday for talks with Iraqi leaders on the progress of an ongoing military campaign, backed by Washington, against the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist militia.

Carter's visit, part of a regional tour, is his first to Iraq since he took office in February.  

The visit came hours after a car bombing hit a market in the mostly Shi'ite district of Bayaa in south-western Baghdad, leaving at least 18 people dead, according to Iraqi broadcaster Alsumaria.

Websites linked to ISIS claimed that the radical Sunni militia was responsible for the attack, the latest in a series of deadly bombings in Iraq.

The claim could not be verified by dpa.

Sunni extremists regard Shi'ites as heretics.

Government troops, backed by US-led airstrikes, have in recent months stepped up the fight against ISIS, which controls vast territory in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Read more on:    isis  |  ash carter  |  us  |  iraq

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