WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says Iraq's new defense minister says his troops will go on the offensive against Islamic State militants who have taken over large sections of the country.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, says Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi spoke with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by phone Thursday. He says al-Obeidi told Hagel he has every intention of going after the extremists and he vowed to rebuild the Iraqi military and ensure his troops are well trained and equipped. Kirby says the minister said he will build an inclusive Army that the Iraqi people will trust.
Iraqi troops were overrun by the extremists, and many Iraqi troops dropped their weapons and fled. U.S. officials have blamed the rout on poor leadership and deep sectarian divisions within the government.