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US lawmakers warn of 'next 9/11' threat in Iraq

Published on Jun 16, 2014 12:25 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama came under fire on Sunday from Republican lawmakers, who warned that a debacle in Iraq will give Islamist extremists a staging area for "the next 9/11".

Senator Lindsey Graham, a proponent of US air strikes, also called for the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and direct US engagement with Iran on the crisis set off this week by a lightning offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group.

Sen Graham, interviewed on CNN's State Of The Union, said Washington had to act "because Iraq and Syria combined are going to be the staging area for the next 9/11 if we don't do something about it".

"The people holding ground in Iraq also hold ground in Syria. Economic instability that comes from a collapsed Iraq will affect gas prices and our economic recovery," he said.

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