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Obama to speak about situation in Iraq before departing for Indian Country and West Coast

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will speak about his administration's response to a growing insurgency foothold in Iraq. The remarks will come moments before he departs on a trip.

Obama said Thursday he was contemplating military assistance to help the Iraqi government hold off rapid advances by Sunni militants who have been securing control of key Iraq cities and are aiming to march on Baghdad.

The insurgents, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and their gains in Iraq have forced the Obama administration to consider military steps even as it has focused on U.S. troop withdrawals in conflict areas.

Administration officials said Obama is not contemplating reinserting U.S. troops in Iraq, but air strikes are under consideration.

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