The US is to deploy a specialized force to Iraq to build pressure on Islamic State militants, US defence secretary Ashton Carter has said.

“In full co-ordination with the government of Iraq, we are deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces,” Mr. Carter said as he delivered remarks to a congressional committee in Washington.

The force would also be able to conduct “unilateral operations” in Syria.

According to BBC News, Mr. Carter told the House Armed Services Committee the US Special Forces soldiers would be able to carry out raids, free hostages and capture Islamic State leaders.

A US-led coalition of 65 countries is conducting a campaign of air strikes against the militants in both countries.

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