- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (AP) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Iraqi security forces have “new momentum” in their battle to regain territory lost this year to the Islamic State group.

Hagel spoke Monday to reporters at a US Army camp in Kuwait that serves as a staging and logistics hub for military operations in the Middle East.

Hagel said that the Islamic State group remains a formidable threat, not only to Iraq but also to neighboring Iran and other countries in the region.

The Pentagon chief said he is encouraged that Iraqi government troops have made significant headway against IS in the months since US began airstrikes in areas held by the militants.

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