US

Kerry in Baghdad to meet Iraqi leaders, discuss IS fight

  • Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, right, receives Secretary of State John Kerry in the library at the foreign minister's villa in Baghdad, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

    Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, right, receives Secretary of State John Kerry in the library at the foreign minister's villa in Baghdad, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, left, walks with Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives via military transport at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

    U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, left, walks with Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives via military transport at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Friday, April 8, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, center left, walks with Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives via military transport at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Friday,  April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

    U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, center left, walks with Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives via military transport at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Friday, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Baghdad to meet Iraq's leaders and discuss the fight against the Islamic State.

Kerry will gather with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other top officials as coalition forces make military gains against IS amid Iraqi political uncertainty.

Iraqi forces say they entered the strategically important IS-held town of Hit on Thursday

But Al-Abadi is still trying to establish a new Cabinet under pressure from hard-line Shiites.

Kerry made the unannounced stop Friday after attending a meeting with Persian Gulf allies in Bahrain.

His trip also coincides with the Pentagon considering more small military outposts to help Iraqi forces as they prepare to retake Mosul. Last month, the U.S. opened the first such base since returning to Iraq in 2014.