Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to fighting Isis in the Middle East, despite the administration’s December decision to pull out forces from Syria. 

Speaking from Cairo, Mr Pompeo said the decision to withdraw was not a “change of mission” and that the US would continue to conduct air strikes against the group “as targets arise” and to “hunt down terrorists in Libya and Yemen.” 

On broader US strategy in the Middle East, Mr Pompeo reserved his tougher words for Iran saying: “We must confront the Ayatollahs, not coddle them.” 

Without naming the former US president, Mr Pompeo rebuked Barack Obama for his stance on Iran, “our common enemy,” and implementing policies which he says weakened the role of the US in the region. 

Mr Pompeo is on a tour of the Middle East, making stops in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. He plans to continue to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

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