Defense Secretary Ash Carter has traveled to Iraq on an unannounced visit with directions from President Barack Obama to find new ways to hasten the destruction of the Islamic State group.

Carter is planning to meet with his commanders and with Iraqi leaders, as he looks for ways to broaden the U.S. assistance to Iraq, including likely discussions about America's willingness to send attack helicopters and more troops to the fight.

Because weather problems in the area were restricting some air travel, it was uncertain which Iraqi leaders Carter would see.

The focus in recent days has been the battle in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, which was taken by IS militants earlier this year. Iraqi forces have been preparing to try to take the city back.