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Published: Thursday June 19, 2014 MYT 1:10:15 AM
Updated: Thursday June 19, 2014 MYT 1:11:06 AM

Top U.S. general says Iraq has asked for air power to counter ISIL

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. military officer told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that the Iraqi government has asked for U.S. air support to help counter Islamist insurgents who have overrun part of the country in recent weeks.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee: "we have a request from the Iraqi government for air power" to counter insurgents with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but he did not say exactly when the request was made.

Asked whether the United States should honour that request, Dempsey responded indirectly, saying: "It is in our national security interest to counter ISIL wherever we find them."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Jim Loney)

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