Iraq and its allies have made significant gains in battling Islamic State militants, killing thousands of fighters and 50 percent of the group's top commanders, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday as an international coalition promised stronger efforts to stop the group and squash the spread of its extremist ideology.
At an anti-IS coalition meeting in London, Kerry said Iraqi ground troops backed by almost 2,000 air strikes had retaken 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of territory and deprived the militants of the use of 200 oil and gas facilities. He said the number of militants killed was in the "single digit" thousands.
But the top US diplomat said the international coalition "can do better" at stopping the militant group's flow of funds and foreign fighters and the reach of its extremist ideas.
Speaking alongside Hammond and the Iraqi premier, Kerry said the Islamic State group had been "definitively" halted in Iraq, despite the fact that a large area and the major city of Mosul remain in the militants' control.