Sunni Muslim extremists on a land-grab and terror rampage in Iraq are an "imminent" threat to the United States and "every stabilized country on earth," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warns.
Hagel said the Pentagon is getting daily assessments from troops in Iraq and will ultimately make a recommendation on the next steps to be taken by the United States, The Hill
In a meeting at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia on Wednesday, Hagel said the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, should not be underestimated.
"[ISIS] may not appear to be an imminent threat to the United States," he said, but "it is a threat to the United States. It is a threat, clear threat, to our partners in that area, and it is imminent."
Hagel said ISIS is "a force that is sophisticated. It's dynamic, it's strong, it's organized, it's well financed, it's competent, and it is a threat to our allies all over the Middle East. It's a threat to Europe."
"It's a threat to every stabilized country on Earth, and it's a threat to us," Hagel declared.
Hagel said an analysis of the information from troops on the ground in Iraq will be completed "in the next few days."
"We'll have a further context of what recommendations they'll make," he said. "In the meantime, we're doing everything we can, as I said, in those two general areas, protect our people and assist [Iraqi security forces] in their efforts to defeat [ISIS]."
About 650 U.S. troops have been sent to Iraq, adding to 100 already there, to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other diplomatic facilities, as well as to assess the security situation, The Hill reports.
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