(CNSNews.com) – In a speech at the Pentagon on Monday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. military is hitting the Islamic State “harder than ever,” with nearly 9,000 airstrikes as of today, and in November, the military “dropped more bombs on ISIL targets than any other month” since U.S. military operations began.
“We are hitting ISIL harder than ever. Coalition aircraft, our fighters, bombers and drones have been increasing the pace of airstrikes – nearly 9,000 as of today,” said Obama, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. “Last month, in November we dropped more bombs on ISIL targets than any other month since this campaign started.”
Since the spring, the U.S. has taken out one of the terrorist group’s top leaders, Abu Sayyaf, as well as Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John,” “who brutally murdered Americans and others,” the president said. A host of other ISIS leaders were also taken out, including its second in command, a top online recruiter, a finance chief, senior extortionist, and weapons trafficker.
“I want to provide all of you a brief update on our progress against the ISIL core in Syria and Iraq, because as we squeeze its heart, we’ll make it harder for ISIL to pump its terror and propaganda to the rest of the world,” Obama said.
“We’re going after ISIL from their stronghold right in downtown Raqqa to Libya, where we took out Abu Nabil, the ISIL leader there. The point is ISIL leaders cannot hide, and our next message to them is simple: You are next,” he said.
“Everyday we destroy as well more of ISIL’s forces, their fighting positions, bunkers, and staging areas, their heavy weapons, bombmaking factories, compounds, and training camps. In many places, ISIL’s lost its freedom of maneuver, because they know if they mask their forces, we will wipe them out. In fact, since this summer, ISIL has not had a single successful offensive operation on the ground in either Syria or Iraq,” Obama added.