US exploring ways to slow brutal terrorist advance in Iraq - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

US exploring ways to slow brutal terrorist advance in Iraq

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The ruthless terrorist group ISIS has captured territory from northwest Syria into the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. (Source: CNN) The ruthless terrorist group ISIS has captured territory from northwest Syria into the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) - The violence continues in Iraq on Monday as towns and cities fall to the militant group ISIS.

Iraq is unraveling, and the U.S. is considering whether to get involved.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is marching through the country capturing key cities like Tal Afar and Mosul and setting its sights on Baghdad.

Over the weekend, graphic images surfaced purportedly showing executions of Iraqi security forces.

On Monday, the Iraqi military struck back.

According to state TV, over 200 militants were killed in targeted strikes.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Yahoo News that U.S. officials are watching the situation closely, but as of now not taking military action.

"Americans feel very powerfully about not putting boots back on the ground in Iraq so we will consider what options are available to us," Kerry said.

The U.S. may engage with Iran to find a possible solution.

Two senior officials said President Barack Obama is exploring direct talks.

It's an idea even some Republicans support.

"We should have discussions with Iran. You just sit down and talk to them," said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, officials are on high alert.

The state department issued a warning to U.S. citizens there, and the embassy is boosting its own security.

The question now is, will the U.S. military get involved?

Some are pushing for targeted airstrikes or even some troop deployment.

"I do believe we ought to put special forces teams on the ground. We need eyes on the ground, and I think these are ideally trained units," said Gen. Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM Commander.

Obama said on Friday that is not an option.

The president is to meet with his national security team on Monday evening to discuss potential military action.

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