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The American airstrikes that began last week in Iraq may not break the overall momentum of the Islamist insurgent group ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a senior U.S. military official said Monday.
Lt. Gen. William Mayville, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the strikes may have had a “temporary effect,” but he said he did not want to suggest “we have effectively contained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by ISIL.” ISIL is another acronym used for ISIS.
Mayville said the focus remained on protecting U.S. citizens and facilities and on breaking up ISIS forces who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in the Sinjar Mountains in Iraq. ISIS had been operating in the open, but are now “starting to dissipate and hide among the people,” he said. He also said that some ISIS forces now have a longer-range weapons system, but he did not elaborate.