SecDef: 20 ISIS terrorists planning to attack “our homelands” have been killed

Defense Secretary Ash Carter makes an opening statement during a meeting of counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant coalition members and NATO partners at Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 20, 2016. (DoD)

U.S. Secretary of Defense met with the defense ministers from the coalition against ISIS at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on Wednesday.

Thirty-four nations plus NATO were invited to attend the second meeting of defense ministers contributing forces or basing to the counter-ISIL coalition.

In prepared remarks before the gathering, Carter said “we’ve killed over 20 of ISIL’s external operators who were actively plotting to attack our homelands and personnel,” according to Reuters.

During the gathering which included the commander of the United States Central Command, General Joseph L. Votel, the coalition made plans in which they believe will completely eradicate the Islamic State.

Secretary Carter announced three goals:

  1. “Destroy ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria”
  2. “Combat ISIL metastases wherever they occur around the world”
  3. “Protect our homelands”

Secretary Carter stated that he can not detail the plans but did say the plans will target the ISIS strongholds in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqah, Syria.

Last week Carter announced that 560 additional troops are being sent to Iraq to help secure a newly retaken airbase as a staging hub for the upcoming campaign to recapture Mosul.

“Today we made the plans that will give ISIS the lasting defeat it deserves,” Carter said during prepared marks on Wednesday afternoon.

General Votel stated one of the most important points he took from this mornings meeting with coalition partners was not to underestimate the preparation needed to take on Mosul.

A United Nations official has warned the operation could create one the world’s largest humanitarian crises, according to AP.

“The impact of the  Mosul  military campaign on civilians will be devastating,” said Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq. “Mass casualties among civilians are likely and families trying to flee are expected to be at extreme.”

The city is home to over two million civilians and Grande believes the operation could affect as many as 1.5 million.  U.N. spokemsan Farhan Haq said the United Nations is seeking $284 million ahead of the operation.

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