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US condemns siege in Iraq's 2nd largest city

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is condemning a siege of Iraq's second-largest city by Islamic militants "in the strongest possible terms."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest is deploring "despicable" acts of violence targeting civilians.

Militants overran much of Mosul on Tuesday, seizing government and military buildings. The assault was a heavy defeat for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) amid a widening insurgency by the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Earnest says that group has gained strength from the situation in neighboring Syria.

But the White House isn't saying what additional military assistance the U.S. might provide Iraq in response to the siege.

Earnest says the U.S. is committed to its partnership with Baghdad but is urging Iraq's government to take steps to be more inclusive of all Iraqis.

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