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US general: Islamic State on the defensive in Iraq as US leads effort to rebuild Iraqi army

  • Iraqi security forces are deployed during a military operation to regain control of the villages around the town of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.  The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Iraqi security forces are deployed during a military operation to regain control of the villages around the town of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters are deployed during a military operation to regain control of the university of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.  The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters are deployed during a military operation to regain control of the university of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters eat the lunch food after a military operation to regain control of villages around the town of Beiji, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.  The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

    Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters eat the lunch food after a military operation to regain control of villages around the town of Beiji, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, because coalition airstrikes and other measures are taking a toll on IS ability to communicate. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)  (The Associated Press)

The commander of U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria says the extremist group has been thrown on the defensive, unable to generate the kind of quick strikes that captured large chunks of Iraq last summer.

Army Lt. Gen. James Terry told reporters in Kuwait that U.S. and coalition airstrikes are taking a toll on IS. He said the fighters are less mobile and are limited in their ability to communicate because of the airstrikes and other pressure.

Terry said his first priority is to build a bigger coalition of countries to counter IS. He said a conference of coalition partners last week produced plans for non-U.S. members to contribute as many as 1,500 military personnel to help rebuild Iraq's army.

Terry is based in Kuwait.