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Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, center, to discuss the situation in Iraq in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were also present at the meeting.

Iraq asks U.S. for air support to counter rebels

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BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON — Iraq has asked the United States for air support in countering Sunni rebels, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday, after the militants seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi’ite-led government’s army.

However, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave no direct reply when asked at a Congressional hearing whether Washington would agree to the request.

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