U.S. weighing airstrike option to end Islamic State encirclement of Mount Sinjar

In response to an Islamic State attack on the base of a mountaintop where tens of thousands of residents of the besieged Iraqi city of Sinjar are trapped, U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly weighing both airstrikes and humanitarian supply air drops.
By JC Finley  |  Aug. 7, 2014 at 2:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly weighing his options -- including possible airstrikes -- in response to continuing Islamic State-led unrest in Iraq.

An unnamed U.S. administration official told the New York Times that "the president is weighing both passive and active options." The passive option, he explained, would include airdropping humanitarian supplies to civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar. "More active, we could target ISIL elements that are besieging the base of the mountain."

Earlier this week, Islamic State militants attacked the northern town of Sinjar in Ninewa Province, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee and seek shelter on the nearby mountaintop. With militants encircling the base of the mountain and the trapped residents running low on food and water supplies, the security and humanitarian situation is dire.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged that while "I'm not in a position to rule things on the table or off the table," he emphasized that no American combat troops would be involved in any possible military action, and that any military option would be limited.

Obama is expected to make a decision "imminently," another administration official told the Times.

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