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US ready to carry out targeted, precise strikes in Iraq: Obama

June 20, 2014 00:49 IST

The US is prepared to carry out "targeted and precise military action" in Iraq if required, President Barack Obama said on Thursday.

"Going forward, we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it," Obama told reporters at the White House following his meeting with the national security team on the unfolding developments in Iraq.

In addition to him and Vice President Joe Biden, the meeting was attended by Secretary of State John Kerry, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of CIA John Brennan and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Emerging out of the meeting, Obama said the US has significantly increased its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets so that they get a better picture of what's taking place inside Iraq, and this will give the US a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing, it's location and how it might support efforts to counter this threat.

The US will continue to increase its support to Iraqi security forces, Obama said announcing that the US is prepared to create joint operation centres in Baghdad and northern Iraq, to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

"Through our new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, we're prepared to work with Congress to provide additional equipment. We have had advisers in Iraq through our embassy, and we're prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisers - up to 300 - to assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward," he said.

American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well, he asserted.

"Because of our increased intelligence resources, we're developing more information about potential targets associated with ISIL, and going forward, we will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it," Obama said.

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