Mattis Says U.S. Plans to ‘Take Apart’ Islamic State Caliphate

The fight against Islamic State has shifted to “annihilation tactics” to stop potential terrorists who’ve flocked to places such as Iraq and Syria from returning to their home countries to wreak havoc, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday.

In his first interview on a Sunday talk show since joining the Trump administration, Mattis provided details of the tactical shift he announced at the Pentagon on May 19.

“We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria,” Mattis said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa.”

The comments followed a week when the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the May 22 suicide bombing in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. The alleged bomber was a U.K. citizen of Libyan descent who had returned days earlier from Libya. The jihadist group also said it was behind an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt that left 29 dead.

“We are going to squash the enemy’s ability to give some indication that they’re -- that they have invulnerability, that they can exist, that they can send people off to Istanbul, to Belgium, to Great Britain and kill people with impunity,” Mattis said.

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