“We do whatever is necessary to protect our people,” Obama said. “We support our allies when they’re in danger.”
A key concern for U.S. officials: American consular staff and military advisers working with the Iraqi military in Irbil, the largest city in Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Obama said Thursday he’d directed the military to take targeted strikes against Islamist militants “should they move towards the city.”
Rapid developments on the ground, where a humanitarian crisis is emerging with minority groups facing possible slaughter by Sunni Muslim extremists, have set the stage for an increasingly dire situation.
Get the rest of this report at CNN.
Watch President Obama explain his decision: