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General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday Iraq has asked the United States for air support in countering Sunni rebels after the militants seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi’ite-led government’s army. Baghdad said it wanted U.S. air strikes as the insurgents, led by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), battled their way into the biggest oil refinery in Iraq and the president of neighbouring Iran raised the prospect of intervening in a sectarian war that threatens to sweep across Middle East frontiers.



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