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US ready for 'targeted action' in Iraq

June 21, 2014 8:17 pm

US President Barack Obama announced he is sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help local forces fight a militant insurgency but stressed the need for a political solution to the country’s crisis.

At a news conference in Washington, Mr Obama said the US is ready for targeted military action against Islamists in Iraq, but stressed American troops would not be returning to combat there.

“American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again. We do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops.”

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Mr Obama withdrew US troops from Iraq at the end of 2011.

The US said the US was ready for “targeted and precise military action” against Islamists in Iraq “if and when the situation on the ground requires it” – delaying but still keeping open the prospect of US air strikes against a militant insurgency.

Mr Obama urged the Shi’ite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take urgent steps to heal the sectarian rift, something US officials say the Iraqi leader has failed to do so far and which an al Qaeda splinter group leading the Sunni insurgency has exploited.

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