Update: The U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said a rescue mission of Iraqi refugees on the mountaintop was "less likely now" after receiving reports from a team of U.S. military personnel in northern Iraq.
"Not only were there fewer people up there, but they were in relatively good condition, and the people up there credited our efforts with the water and the food and also buying space and time with those airstrikes against ISIL. So, that’s good news," said Hagel.
The U.S. and its allies are discussing ways to rescue thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountaintop in northern Iraq. They are mostly members of religious minorities. They are fleeing attacks by Islamic State militants.
Ben Rhodes is a national security adviser for President Barack Obama. He said the president would decide within days whether to send American military troops to help. He said the administration does not believe American troops will return to a combat role in Iraq.
Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. deployed more than a hundred military advisers to northern Iraq to help find ways to help the trapped civilians. They include members of the Yazidi and Christian minority groups.
France said it is sending weapons to Kurdish forces in Iraq to help them fight Islamic State militants who have taken control of the area. The French government said the weapons would be sent within hours.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said an international plan is being developed to rescue the refugees.
Russian Trucks Head to Ukraine
Almost 300 trucks left Moscow Tuesday loaded with aid for civilians in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia reportedly reached an agreement to permit the trucks to enter Kharkiv province.
But on Wednesday, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called the transport a provocation. He said the trucks would not be permitted to enter Ukraine.
A spokesman for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned that the country faced the possibility of, in his words, a "direct invasion of the Ukrainian territory under the pretense of humanitarian cargo delivery."
Rockets Land in Israel
At least two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed inside southern Israel late Wednesday. The attack came moments before Palestinian negotiators said they had agreed to extend a cease-fire with Israel for five days. Hamas militants denied firing the rockets. Israel says no damage resulted.
This report was written from VOANews. It was edited by Caty Weaver and narrated by Christopher Cruise.
Words in the News
rescue – v. to free from danger or evil
refugee - n. a person who has been forced to flee because of unjust treatment, danger or war
civilian - adj. not military
minority - n. the smaller number; opposite majority
possible - adj. able to be done; can happen or is expected to happen; possibility - n.
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