Obama, Congress leaders reviewed options for Iraq: White House

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:18pm EDT

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi security forces to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), wearing the police force uniforms gather in the holy city of Najaf, June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi security forces to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), wearing the police force uniforms gather in the holy city of Najaf, June 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama updated congressional leaders on Wednesday on the situation in Iraq and reviewed what he sees as options for "increased security assistance" for the country, which is grappling with insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"The president provided an update on the administration’s efforts to respond to the threat from ISIL by urging Iraq's leaders to set aside sectarian agendas and to come together with a sense of national unity," the White House said in a statement after the Oval Office meeting, which lasted more than an hour.

"He also reviewed our efforts to strengthen the capacity of Iraq's security forces to confront the threat from ISIL, including options for increased security assistance," the White House said, noting Obama sought the views of the leaders and said he would continue to consult Congress.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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