President Barack Obama said Monday the United States military and allied forces are hitting the Islamic State group "harder than ever."
Speaking at the Pentagon, Obama said the group's leaders cannot hide, and the group is losing territory. Obama also said the U.S. strategy of hunting down leaders, training forces and stopping the group's financing and propaganda is progressing.
Obama said his message to ISIS leaders was simple: "you are next."
There have been nearly 9,000 air strikes as of today, he said. The most bombs were dropped in November. He said ISIS has lost about 40 percent of populated territory in Iraq “and they will lose more.”
"More people are seeing ISIL for the thugs and the thieves and the killers that they are," Obama said, using an alternate name for the group.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will go to the Middle East to work with coalition partners to secure more military contributions, Obama added.
The president made the remarks after meeting with his national security team at the Pentagon. The rare meeting outside the White House is part of a public relations drive to ease public worries about domestic terrorism ahead of the holidays.
Obama is making the case for his broad counterterrorism strategy, including his ongoing campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.