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US takes time to gather data before any attacks on Iraq insurgents

Published on Jun 27, 2014 9:27 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US intelligence about the Islamist insurgent offensive in Iraq is improving but it could take weeks to complete a detailed picture of the threat and any possible American air attacks do not appear imminent, US officials said on Thursday.

Last week's announcement that up to 300 US military advisers were being sent to Baghdad and the earlier movement of an aircraft carrier, a cruiser and a destroyer into the Gulf prompted speculation of impending military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

"We're just not there yet," one official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The US intelligence picture is being filled in with information from flights by about 30 to 35 manned surveillance planes and drones flying over the country daily. US officials said this would be further boosted by the opening on Wednesday of a joint Iraq-US operations center in Baghdad staffed by about 90 military personnel.

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