n18
$doaminname = 1
NEWS|Current Affairs 
   |

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is flying armed aircraft over Iraq, defense officials said on Friday, adding that the flights were aimed at gathering intelligence and ensuring the safety of U.S. personnel on the ground rather than conducting strikes."What I would tell you is that we continue to fly both manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq at the ... Iraqi government's request, predominantly for reconnaissance purposes. Some of those aircraft are armed," Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters."The reason that some of those aircraft are armed is primarily for force protection reasons now that we have introduced into the country some military advisers whose objective will be to operate outside the confines of the embassy," he said. The United States has increased manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Iraq - to about 30 to 35 a day - in an effort to help Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government repel the advance of Islamist militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More than two years after U.S. forces withdrew, the White House has ruled out sending troops back into combat in Iraq, but it has dispatched military advisors and said it would consider air strikes against the insurgents, who have seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq. U.S. intelligence about the ISIL advance is improving but it could take weeks to complete a detailed picture of the threat, and any possible strikes do not appear imminent, U.S. officials said.The Obama administration also has been working to speed up delivery of U.S. weaponry that Iraq is buying from the United States.Iraq has requested 800 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, which enable helicopters to battle tanks and other armored vehicles, in addition to the hundreds of Hellfire missiles that should be delivered to the country in coming weeks, Kirby said. "We're processing that as we speak," he said. (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Missy Ryan; Editing by Paul Simao)This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Islamic State purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap

from firstpost

Islamic State purportedly sets new deadline for hostage swap

AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) - An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants said a Jordanian air force pilot also captured by the group would be killed unless a wom...


Russia warns West support for Kiev could lead to "catastrophe"

from firstpost

Russia warns West support for Kiev could lead to "catastrophe"

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's envoy to the European security watchdog OSCE urged the United States and Europe on Thursday to stop supporting the "party of war" in Ukraine and warned "cata...

Pakistan violates ceasefire in Jammu, targets border outposts

from firstpost

Pakistan violates ceasefire in Jammu, targets border outposts

Jammu: In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistan Rangers on Thursday night resorted to small arms firing on border outposts (BoPs) along the international border in Jammu, prompting BSF to retaliat...

Syed Geelani stokes controversy, pays tributes to slain militants in Jammu and Kashmir

from firstpost

Syed Geelani stokes controversy, pays tributes to slain militants in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has stoked a controversy by paying tributes to two militants who were killed in an encounter in Tral area of Kashmir, in which an ...

Gas explosion at Mexico children's hospital kills 2, injures 22 children

from firstpost

Gas explosion at Mexico children's hospital kills 2, injures 22 children

Mexico City: A gas explosion ripped through a children's hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens, including 22 children, officials said.Rescuers toiled thr...

Dear Congress, whats the fuss about? 'Socialist' and 'secular' missing in Rajya Sabha calendar too

from firstpost

Dear Congress, whats the fuss about? 'Socialist' and 'secular' missing in Rajya Sabha calendar too

The BJP has been pushed in a corner over the issue of the "missing" words inthe Preamble ofour Indian Constitution as Opposition parties led by the Congress have unleashed their ire on the s...

Had sought early retirement; no individual larger than institution: Sujatha Singh

from firstpost

Had sought early retirement; no individual larger than institution: Sujatha Singh

New Delhi: A day after the government said that her tenure as Foreign Secretary has been "curtailed", Sujatha Singh on Thursday claimed that she had actually sought early retirement and unde...