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Iraq appeals for US air strikes on advancing militants

Published on Jun 19, 2014 10:25 AM
 

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Baghdad has called for US air strikes on militants who attacked Iraq's main oil refinery and seized more territory in the north, putting US President Barack Obama under pressure on Thursday amid warnings that the country could unravel.

The White House said Mr Obama has not ruled out such strikes after a lightning eight-day offensive by Sunni fighters, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), that has seen them rapidly bear down on the capital.

While officials touted progress, militants seized three villages in northern Iraq and India said 40 of its nationals were kidnapped in Mosul, the city captured last week by insurgents at the onset of their offensive.

"Iraq has officially asked Washington to help... and to conduct air strikes against terrorist groups," Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters in Saudi Arabia.

In this image released by the US Navy, sailors direct an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush during flight operations in the Arabian Gulf on June 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
 
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