Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Pentagon ordered a U.S. aircraft carrier and two destroyers to move from the North Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf close to Iraq on Saturday.
The carrier USS George H.W. Bush, guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun will be used to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq if needed, said Pentagon press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby.
Sunni militants from the group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have seized the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit. They claimed the execution hundreds of Iraqi soldiers who surrendered from the two cities through photos posted on the Internet.
The Pentagon also said on Friday it is raising the number of U.S. drones flying over Iraq to at least once a day in response to the offensive of the al Qaeda-inspired ISIL. The Iraqi government requested more drone flights as it battled ISIL fighters to regain control of Mosul, Tikrit and other cities captured by militants.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch is verifying the authenticity of photos of the execution of Iraqi troops posted by ISIL on Twitter. ISIL is claiming to have killed 1,700 Iraqi troops.
An Iraqi military intelligence official said the executions were held in Salahuddin Province.