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AFP

Mosul governor urges US air
strikes on militants

ANKARA - The exiled governor of Mosul, Iraq's second city which was seized by Islamist fighters last week, has called for US and Turkish air strikes against the militants. 

 

"Air strikes might be conducted, not in the cities but on [the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham] ISIS bases in uninhabited areas," Atil al-Nujaifi said in comments published Sunday in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet

 

"We need political and logistical support, but not foreign troops," he added. 

 

His comments came as Washington deployed an aircraft carrier to the Gulf and Baghdad launched a counter-offensive against extremist Sunni militants who have overrun all of one Iraqi province and chunks of three more since launching their offensive last Monday.

 

Speaking from Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, Nujaifi said he doubted Baghdad's security forces -- some of whom abandoned their uniforms and vehicles when ISIS fighters attacked -- would be able to repel the militant advance on their own. 

 

"[The Iraqi army] cannot fight against ISIS. Only Sunnis can do that, because then ISIS would not be able to use sectarian issues" to gather support, he said.

 

Nujaifi criticized the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for failing to protect civilians.

 

ISIS fighters kidnapped 49 Turks including diplomats and children when they stormed Turkey's consul in Mosul on Wednesday, in addition to 31 truck drivers seized earlier in the week. 

 

Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru ruled out the prospect of a military operation to free the abductees but also told reporters there was "no negotiation process" with ISIS.

 

US President Barack Obama said he was "looking at all the options" to halt the offensive that has brought militants within 80 kilometers)of Baghdad's city limits, but ruled out any return of US troops to Iraq.

We need political and logistical support, but not foreign troops.