US Secretary of State John Kerry would not call it war, but the White House and the Pentagon, aren't shying away from the word.

On Wednesday, Obama announced a plan to "dismantle and ultimately destroy" the terrorist group that his administration prefers to call ISIL, saying: "We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.”

But Kerry asserted in an interview in Jeddah that US was not at war with IS and the administration's strategy includes "many different things that one doesn't think of normally in context of war".

"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation," he was quoted as saying.

"If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counterterrorism operation,” he added.

Like her boss, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf too on Thursday chose to call the action "a steady, relentless counter-terrorism campaign to take out ISIL wherever they exist."

"This is not also America's war with ISIL," she was quoted as saying.

"The world is joining us in the fight because of the threat they pose to countries in the regions,” she added.

“So we are at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates around the world,” she said.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Friday said, "Ultimately, this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL”.

"So I think what you can conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL the same way that we are at war with Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda affiliates all around the globe," he was quoted as saying.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby had a similar take. US is at war with ISIL "in the same way we are at war and continue to be at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates", he said.

Latest News from World News Desk