The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has continued to terrorize the Iraqi people.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has continued to terrorize the Iraqi people. While we understand that ISIL’s southward advance has slowed, we have also seen reports that it has made gains in areas along the Syrian border.
There are also reports of a large-scale massacre in the recently seized city of Tikrit. ISIL claims to have massacred 1700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits. U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki called the alleged mass shooting "horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent."
While the United States cannot yet confirm these reports, one of the primary goals of ISIL is to set fear into the hearts of all Iraqis and drive sectarian division among its people. The U.S. condemns these tactics in the strongest possible terms and stands in solidarity with the Iraqi people against these horrendous and senseless acts of violence.
Terrorists who can commit such heinous acts are a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community. This underscores the need for Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum to take steps that unify the country in the face of this threat.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized the importance of Iraqi leaders adhering to its constitutionally mandated timeframe for forming a new government, and respecting the rights of all citizens – Sunni, Kurd, and Shia – as it fights against terrorism.
The United States is reaching out to the international community and Iraq’s regional neighbors to emphasize the threat that Iraq and the region are under from ISIL and the importance of coming to Iraq’s aid at this critical juncture. President Barack Obama is examining a range of options that could help the Iraqi security forces push back on ISIL advances.
The United States will do its part to help Iraq move beyond this crisis and the U.S. urges all Iraqis to unite against this violence and continue to reject the path of hatred that ISIL represents.