Auto bomb blast in Iraq kills 20

Iraqi forces launched the drive to retake west Mosul on February 19, after seizing the city's eastern side the previous month.

The letter comes following Trump's first meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Iraqi government forces made more territorial gains in Mosul as they are battling in joint operations with allied fighters to flush ISIL militants out of their last urban stronghold in the crisis-hit Arab country.

Last week, Trump released his 2018 budget outline, raising big questions about the future of US foreign assistance under his administration.

Trump and Abadi agreed that "terrorism can not be defeated by military might alone", and the two leaders called for deepening commercial ties, including in the energy sector, a White House statement about the meeting said.

The US Defense Secretary General (retd) James Mattis and his team have done an incredible job, he said.

In brief remarks in the presence of reporters during al-Abadi's White House visit, Trump raised his frequently stated objections to the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, but did not talk specifically about how he intends to support Iraq. "We are not talking about (US) military confrontation as such in Iraq", he said.

At least 23 people have been killed and 45 others injured in a vehicle bomb blast in the west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

At least 27 civilians were killed in USA -led coalition airstrikes and a roadside bomb in western Mosul, where Iraqi forces are battling to oust Daesh militants from the area, according to an Iraqi activist.

"I think they're prepared to do more to fight terrorism and be more engaged", Abadi said, adding that "but of course we have to be careful here".

"Our main thrust is we have get rid of ISIS, it's happening - it's happening right now", Trump said.

It is not clear how long ISIS can hold out against Iraqi forces, but the situation is expected to get "much worse" in the coming weeks.

The United Nations mission in Iraq has announced earlier this year that at least 392 civilians were killed across Iraq in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict, compared to 403 people in January. I know there is a plan.

Detractors argue the ban discriminated against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom. "Maybe someday we'll be able to figure it out".

  • Leroy Wright