The United States government has stepped up its effort to hunt don ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who they believe has gone into hiding.
According to Bloomberg News, an anonymous Obama administration official says that a U.S.-led coalition is finding and killing a top ISIS leader about every two days. But they feel that to really do some damage to ISIS, they need to find al-Baghdadi “because he holds a unique role in being able to inspire and organize extremists beyond the territory held by the group.”
The ISIS leader's influence allegedly had an impact on Tashfeen Malik, the woman who, along with her husband Syed Farook, is accused of the deadly attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people.
“Investigators believe Tashfeen Malik during attack pledged allegiance on [Facebook] to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” tweeted CNN's Jake Tapper.
But finding al-Baghdadi has not been easy. The ISIS leader has been at the top of the U.S. government's "most wanted terrorist" list since 2011, when the State Department announced a $10 million reward for his capture.
As the Obama administration touts its efforts to take out ISIS leaders, other government officials are pushing for a more aggressive military effort, as well. And Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says that plan is in the works.
Stars and Stripes reported that on December 1, Carter told the House Armed Services Committee: “In full coordination with the government of Iraq, we’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces and to put even more pressure” on the Islamic State.
Carter added: “…That creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence, which generates more targets, more raids and more momentum. … It’s not war in a technical sense, but this is serious business. It feels that way to our people.”