U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says a campaign by Islamist militants in Iraq bears the signs of ''genocide'' as tens of thousands of Christians flee for their lives, in an offensive that has prompted U.S. military action. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday (August 8) a campaign by Islamist militants in Iraq bore the signs of genocide and the stakes for the country could not be more clear. "The stakes for Iraq's future can also not be more clear," Kerry said on a visit to the Afghan capital, Kabul. "ISIL's campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Christian minority, and its grotesque targeted acts of violence show all the warning signs of genocide," he said, referring to Islamic State militants. Islamist militants surged across northern Iraq toward the capital of the Kurdish region on Thursday (August 7), sending tens of thousands of Christians fleeing for their lives, in an offensive that prompted talk of Western military action. U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he had authorized U.S. air strikes to blunt the onslaught of militants in northern Iraq and began airdrops of supplies to besieged religious minorities to prevent a "potential act of genocide." U.S. military aircraft conducted an airstrike on Friday on Islamic State artillery used against Kurdish forces defending the city of Arbil, Iraq, near U.S. personnel, a Pentagon spokesman said.