Obama: We are hitting ISIS 'harder than ever'

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The U.S. and its coalition partners are hitting ISIS "harder than ever," President Barack Obama said Monday.

Speaking from the Pentagon after meeting with military and national security leaders, Obama listed what the U.S. is doing to fight the extremist group also known as the Islamic State or ISIL.

The president said he has directed the military to increase the pace of air strikes against ISIS, and revealed that there have been nearly 9,000 as of Monday. Yet he acknowledged that the fight against the group in Syria in and Iraq "continues to be a difficult fight" and "progress needs to keep coming faster."

While the U.S. works to disrupt ISIS financing and recruiting across the world, Obama said the U.S. is chiefly focused on hitting the group at its base of power in Iraq and Syria.

"As we squeeze its heart, it'll make it harder for ISIL to pump its terror and propaganda through the rest of the world," the president said.

Obama also announced that he had directed Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to travel to the Middle East, and work to secure more military contributions from partners in the region.

"Just as the United States is doing more in this fight, just as our allies — France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy — are doing more, so must others," Obama said.