Hagel describes Islamic State as "imminent threat"

Islamic State militants are an "imminent threat to every interest we have" and clearly pose "a long-term threat," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

"They're beyond just a terrorist group,'' he told reporters at a briefing at the Pentagon, saying they combine ideology with tactical military prowess.

"They have no standard of decency, of responsible human behavior, and I think the record is pretty clear on that," Hagel said, describing as "barbaric" their murder of captive American journalist James Foley and their threat to all Americans and Europeans.

Over the past two weeks, U.S. drones and fighter jets have conducted over 90 airstrikes against militant targets in northern Iraq, including a bombing raid that destroyed explosives set around Iraq's biggest dam near Mosul.