WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has not decided whether to approve the use of attack helicopters in operations against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq, the White House said on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers at a congressional hearing that the United States was prepared to deploy advisers and attack helicopters if Iraq requested them, in an effort to help it “finish the job” of retaking the city of Ramadi from Islamic State.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Obama had not yet signed off on the use of the helicopters, and that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi would first have to request such support. He noted that Iraqi security forces are making “modest progress” in retaking the city on their own.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Megan Cassella; Editing by Mohammad Zargham