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Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, walks with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a meeting of defense ministers and senior leaders from anti-ISIS coalition members at JB Andrews, Md., on July 20, 2016. DOD photo by Air Force TSgt. Brigitte N. Brantley.

JB Andrews, Md.—The defense ministers and representatives of all the nations fighting ISIS are looking to increase their efforts to destroy the group and build on local ground forces' momentum, including the killing of more than 20 ISIS operators who were planning external attacks. Almost 40 defense ministers and other officials from the nations contributing to the counter-ISIS fight convened at JB Andrews, Md., on Wednesday to review how they can do just that. “This is a critical moment, and today is an important opportunity to build on our momentum and deliver ISIL a lasting defeat,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a press conference at Andrews. The meeting comes as the coalition builds on progress combating ISIS, but also at a time when allied nations—such as France—are reeling from ISIS-inspired attacks like the Bastille Day attack in Nice, France. The coalition needs to defeat the “parent tumors” of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, defeat the group in other areas where it has spread such as Libya, and protect the homeland of the US and allies, Carter said. “As recent attacks remind us, ISIL's safe havens threaten not only the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian peoples, but also the security of our own citizens,” he said. “And the sooner we defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the safer our countries will be.”