ISIS has claimed credit for three separate suicide bombings, which killed at least 80 people across Baghdad on Wednesday. The attacks were the deadliest of the year in Iraq’s capital city, Reuters reported. Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command, suggested the severity of the attacks reflected the success of the counter-ISIS campaign. “As we’ve seen, as the enemy loses more and more terrain, they resort to some of these desperate acts,” he told reporters during a Pentagon briefing Wednesday. He said ISIS is losing ground every day. Iraqi operations and coalition strikes, he said, have also degraded ISIS’ ability to conduct offensive operations, reinforce its fighters, and move equipment. Volesky said the Iraqi forces are still focused on retaking Mosul, but would not provide a timeline of any plans. (Volesky transcript.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.