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US, 'Islamic State creating 'humanitarian catastrophe' '

WASHINGTON D.C. (AA) - The White House has condemned attacks on ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and warned of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe" in the country. Armed groups linked to the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, captured Iraq's Sinjar and Rabia on Sunday after fierce clashes, forcing thousands of Iraqis - including Turkmen, Arabs and Ezidis - to flee.
"The United States strongly condemns ISIL's assault on Sinjar and surrounding areas of northern Iraq," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told journalists Thursday.
"These actions have exacerbated an already dire humanitarian crisis and the situation is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe."
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the on-going crisis was "really horrific."
She added: "This is a huge humanitarian crisis. You have thousands and thousands of people at risk of death from starvation -- we're reviewing what more we can do."
Earnest did not confirm media reports alleging the White House is considering air strikes to stifle the IS. He said: "I'm not in a position to rules things on the table or off the table in this context.
"There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq. We can't solve these problems for them."

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