White House, Pentagon Confirm 'War On Islamic State'

((Photo: Reuters/Yuri Gripas))The White House in Washington, D.C.

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed Friday that the United States is "at war" with the Islamic State terror group.

When pressed by reporters on Friday about the United States' strategy against the Islamic State, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said: "In the same way that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates […] the United States is at war with ISIL."

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby used similar language when discussing U.S. strategy with reporters on Friday, saying that although the U.S. is not participating in an Iraq War as it did years ago, "we are at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war and continue to be at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates."

These comments come after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought to downplay use of the term "war" when discussing U.S. strategy against the Islamic State. "What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation," Kerry told CNN earlier this week.

"It's going to go on for some period of time," Kerry continued. "If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."

These statements from top U.S. officials come after President Barack Obama addressed the American people on Wednesday and outline his plan to destroy the Islamic State, a terrorist group that recently beheaded two American soldiers in Syria.

Obama said that while the strategy against the terrorist organization will be steady and relentless, the first leg of the attack will include U.S. airstrikes in Syria, where much of the terrorist group is based.

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