Obama: U.S. will hit ISIS ‘wherever they exist'

President Barack Obama told Americans he plans for the nation to lead a broad coalition to fight the Islamic State.

“With a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” he said. “Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

The comments came as part of Obama’s prime-time speech Wednesday to outline his plans to counter the Islamic militants known as the Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL. Obama said the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state.  

Obama, however, made it clear he does not plan to use American ground troops to fight.

“But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.”

Obama said U.S. intelligence has not yet found specific plans to attack in America. 

"So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities," he said. "If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region — including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies." 

Obama said the United States will continue to provide humanitarian help to the region. 

"This is American leadership at its best," he said. 

Obama said he has the authority to fight ISIS, but he wants Americans to be united and will work with Congress. The president tried to get support from congressional leaders Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

The Islamic militants, known as ISIS or ISIL, have taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. The terrorist organization also has beheaded two American journalists.

According to Reuters, Obama authorized $25 million in immediate military assistance on Wednesday for the Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government. 

Eric Pfahler is a national content producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @Eric_Pfahler or email him at eric.pfahler@scripps.com.
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