Trump Says U.S. to Be ‘Finished Pretty Soon’ With Islamic StateBy
President Donald Trump said the U.S. will “be finished pretty soon” with the Islamic State terrorist group that has inspired attacks in America and Europe.
The military coalition combating the extremists “has recaptured nearly 100 percent of the territory once held by the terrorists in Iraq and Syria,” Trump told reporters during a cabinet meeting Wednesday. “We’ll be finished pretty soon with the ISIS situation in those two countries, and we’re making it very difficult for them to come here.”
Islamic State has been pushed out of its last strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, through a military campaign that began under President Barack Obama and was completed under Trump.
But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who sat next to Trump during the remarks on Wednesday, has said the U.S. must keep forces in the region to make sure the Islamic State forces can’t “come right back.”
Mattis told reporters in November that the U.S. can’t “just walk away and let ISIS 2.0 pop back.”
Suspects in two terrorist attacks in New York in recent months have claimed their acts were inspired by the Islamic State. Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old who immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2011 is accused of detonating a bomb in a subway station tunnel earlier this month. Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old who immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010 is alleged to have mowed down people on a bike path with a pickup truck on Halloween.