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August 07, 2014 AT 9:57 AM
According to U.S. defense officials and others familiar with the administration's thinking, the White House is weighing direct military strikes to stem an Islamic militant group's gains in Iraq, as well as humanitarian relief for thousands of displaced religious minorities in the country's north. President Barack Obama huddled with his national security team Thursday morning to discuss the crisis as the Islamic State group made further gains. Airstrikes in particular would mark a significant shift in the U.S. strategy in Iraq, where the military fully withdrew in late 2011 after nearly a decade of war.