US general engineers ISIS assassination map
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, pictured right, and President Obama on the left. (AFP)
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey says he has prepared an “option” for President Barack Obama to consider the use of US military assets against “high-value individuals” in ISIL leadership.
"It includes potentially the protection of, in particular, critical infrastructure," Gen. Dempsey said in an interview with NPR on Friday.
“We're flying a great deal [of] manned and unmanned ... intelligence and reconnaissance assets, and we're building a picture so that if the decision were made to support the Iraqi security forces as they confront [ISIL], we could do so.”
The Pentagon announced on Friday that US drones armed with Hellfire missiles were flying over the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad to protect American troops and diplomats on the ground.
“We have the necessary forces not only to protect our own forces, but to be prepared should the president make a decision to do something more,” a senior Pentagon official said on Friday.
Militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are spilling over form the Syrian border into Iraq and have seized key cities and towns across northern Iraq.
The ISIL militants, who have posted footage of their atrocious acts online, have vowed to continue their offensive towards the capital.
Gen. Dempsey declined to rule out coordination between Iran and the US to help Iraqi security forces in their battle against the brutal insurgency.
“I'm not predicting that it's entirely impossible that we would at any point act collaboratively with Iran,” he said. “But there's a long way to go between here and there, in my judgment.”
On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States hoped to enlist what he described as “moderate” militants in Syria to help roll back ISIL terrorists in neighboring Iraq.
ISIL grew out of the Syrian insurgency that has been backed both militarily and financially by the United States and some of its Arab allies to fight the Syrian government.
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