WASHINGTON Oct 16 The United States and the
rest of the U.S.-led international coalition stand ready to
support Iraq "in the difficult fight ahead," U.S. Defense
Secretary Ash Carter said on Sunday as Baghdad announced its
offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State.
"This is a decisive moment in the campaign to deliver ISIL a
lasting defeat," Carter said in a statement, using an acronym
for Islamic State.
"We are confident our Iraqi partners will prevail against
our common enemy and free Mosul and the rest of Iraq from ISIL's
hatred and brutality."
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Peter Cooney)