U.S. open to launching airstrikes in Iraq

An F-16 fighter jet of the US Air Force flying over Iraq in 2011 (file photo)
An F-16 fighter jet of the US Air Force flying over Iraq in 2011 (file photo)

Following the seizure of the two Iraqi cities Mosul and Tikrit, U.S. officials have asked their military and intelligence agencies to devise options that include limited U.S. military action in Iraq, officials said.

“They’re looking at everything and anything and have been told explicitly by the White House to think outside the box of what is possible,” a senior U.S. official said.

In recent weeks, U.S. has also stepped up planning for the possible evacuation of the American embassy in Baghdad, a U.S. official said. U.S. military officials say they do not believe an evacuation will be necessary and doubt Baghdad will fall to militant forces, but said expanded planning is prudent.

Administration and military officials say they are drawing up immediate and long-term options to fight the ISIL threat in Iraq.

The options range from possible U.S. airstrikes, intelligence sharing and accelerated delivery of pre-arranged military supplies.

Long-term options include expanded training of Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, officials said.

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