(AP) The White House is considering direct military strikes in Iraq, to help stop the advances of an Islamic militant group. That's according to U.S. defense officials and others who are familiar with what's being considered.
They say the options also include humanitarian relief tor thousands of displaced religious minorities in the country's north.
President Barack Obama huddled with his national security team this morning to discuss the crisis, as the Islamic State group made further gains.
Airstrikes in particular would mark a significant shift in the U.S. strategy in Iraq, where the military fully withdrew in 2011 after nearly a decade of war.
Officials say Obama could announce a decision as early as today.
In recent days, the Islamic State militants have swept through villages in the north that are home to religious minorities including Christians and the Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion.
The extremists seized Iraq's largest dam today, placing them in control of enormous power and water resources and access to the river that runs through the heart of Baghdad.