Written by Staff Writer
12 Jun, 2014 | 7:21 am
Pictured: A propaganda video uploaded by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq’s Nineveh province
Iraq’s government Wednesday indicated a willingness for the United States military to conduct airstrikes against radical Islamist militants who have taken over one large city and are threatening to fully control another, a U.S. official told foreign media.
Several U.S. officials said Washington views the situation as “extremely urgent” and is looking to see what more support the United States can provide to the Iraqi government, in addition to weapons and vehicles it has already provided.
Part of this will be giving Iraqi officals intelligence they can use to go going after the militants, believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS and ISIL.
Assistance could also involve training and “kinetic” activity, U.S. officials has said, but they have no specified whether those options included airstrikes.
Baghdad’s openness to airstrikes was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday night.
One of the officials said there clearly was a breakdown in Iraqi security, but Washington believes it was a combination of factors, including the fact that Iraqi forces were already stretched thin by limited success against ISIS in Anbar province.
Government forces in the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit ran when attacked this week, the officials said.
One silver lining, the officials said, is that Iraqi officials now seem to have a coordinated approach with the semiautonomous Kurdish regional government. It appears Iraqi forces will team up with Kurdish fighters, known as the Peshmerga, to fight militants with ISIS, an offshoot of al Qaeda.
Peshmerga forces took up positions in southwest Kirkuk after militants took over several villages and districts north and west of the city and the Iraqi army withdrew, police officials there told foreign media.
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