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US mulls 'all options' as militants move nearer Baghdad

Published on Jun 13, 2014 6:46 AM
An image uploaded on June 9, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) taking position on a street in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra. Jihadists are pushing toward Baghdad on June 12, 2014 after capturing a town just hours to the north, as the US mulled air strikes in a bid to bolster Iraq's collapsing security forces. -- PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Jihadists moved nearer to Baghdad on Thursday after capturing a town just hours to the north, as President Barack Obama said Washington was exploring all options to save Iraq's security forces from collapse.

With the militants closing in on the capital, forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region took control of Kirkuk, an ethnically divided northern city they have sought to rule for decades against the objections of successive governments in Baghdad.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hosyhar Zebari acknowledged the security forces which Washington invested billions in training and equipping before withdrawing its own troops in 2011, had simply melted away.

Mr Obama said Iraq was going to need "more help from the United States and from the international community." "Our national security team is looking at all the options... I don't rule out anything," he said.

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