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Hagel Predicts New Offensive By ISIS

Chuck Hagel (L) and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey / SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says U.S. airstrikes have helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces regain their footing in Iraq, but he expects Islamic State militants will regroup and stage a new offensive.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey says it’s possible to contain the Islamic State militants, but it can’t be done permanently without going after the group in Syria. Speaking to reporters with Hagel, Dempsey said he wasn’t predicting U.S. airstrikes in Syria, but said the problem must be addressed diplomatically, politically and militarily by America and its regional partners.

Hagel said all options were on the table, including airstrikes into Syria.

The U.S. has restricted its military action to Iraq, but concerns have increased as the Islamic militant group extends its reach and work from safe havens in Syria.

Officials say U.S. aircraft conducted six airstrikes overnight to help solidify Iraqi and Kurdish forces’ efforts to retake and maintain control of the Mosul Dam. The latest strikes destroyed or damaged three Humvees, multiple roadside bombs and another vehicle of the Islamic State group.

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