12 June 2014
Last updated at 18:12
US President Barack Obama says his government is looking at “all options”, including military action, to help Iraq fight Islamist militants.
He said the US had an interest in making sure jihadists did not gain a foothold in Iraq.
His remarks came after the cities of Mosul and Tikrit fell to Sunni Islamist insurgents during a lightning advance.
A parliamentary vote to grant PM Nouri Maliki emergency powers was delayed earlier after MPs failed to turn up.
Just 128 out of the 325 MPs were present for the vote.
Led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the insurgents are believed to be planning to push further south to the capital, Baghdad, and regions dominated by Iraq’s Shia Muslim majority, whom they regard as “infidels”.
“There will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily,” Mr Obama told reporters at the White House as he met Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in Iraq, or Syria for that matter.”
Parts of Kirkuk province were overrun by the Sunni Islamists this week.
Government forces slowed the insurgents’ advance on Wednesday outside Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad.
But reports have emerged of the rebels bypassing Samarra and seizing the town of Dhuluiya, 90km north-west of Baghdad.
The insurgents also control a large swathe of territory in eastern Syria, amid a campaign to set up a Sunni militant enclave straddling the border.