Iraq army flees Mosul
Sunni insurgents extend their control over Iraq's second biggest city, forcing families and the army to effectively abandon the city.PT0M0S 620 349
Washington: Iraqi officials have privately asked US President Barack Obama's administration to weigh potential air strikes targeting militants, a Western official says.
A burnt vehicle belonging to Iraqi security forces is pictured at a checkpoint in east Mosul. Photo: Reuters
The Obama administration is weighing several possibilities to offer military assistance to Baghdad, including drone strikes, the official told AFP on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
But Baghdad has not yet formulated an official request, a US defence official said.
Faced with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's spectacular assault on Mosul and seizure of a large swathe of northern and north-central Iraq, Washington is committed to "working with the Iraqi government and leaders across Iraq to support a unified approach against ISIL's continued aggression", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
The Obama administration had long warned of the dangers posed by the militants now sweeping toward Baghdad, according to Psaki.
A US official said the Obama administration was considering sending "more weaponry" to Iraq after ISIL seized the cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
But there is no current plan to send US troops back into Iraq, where around 4500 American soldiers died in the bitter conflict.
The US has already expedited arms shipments to Iraq this year and ramped up training of Iraqi security forces, while US congress is mulling a request for a further $US1 billion in military aid.
Since US forces left Iraq in late 2011, Washington has provided training assistance to Iraq's military for counterterrorism missions, including in Jordan since the start of the year.