President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States was ready to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq and was prepared to make targeted strikes in the country to combat an extremist insurgency.
Obama said American forces would not be returning to combat in Iraq. He said Secretary of State John Kerry would leave this weekend for meetings in the Middle East and Europe.
Obama urged Iraq leaders to rise above their differences and come together for a political solution to the crisis.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Susan Heavey