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Amphibious US ship USS Mesa Verde moved to Persian Gulf

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the Mesa Verde has already moved into the Gulf, joining the aircraft carrierUSS George H.W. Bush and other US naval ships.

Alberto Lowe/Reuters/File
The USS Mesa Verde, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, takes part in FA Panamax 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean, 12 miles from Colon City. The USS Mesa Verde with 550 Marines on board entered the Gulf on Monday to support possible US action to help Iraq's Shi'ite-led government combat a Sunni Islamist insurgency that has overtaken large areas of the country's north, CNN reported.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde into the Persian Gulf as concern grows over a militant group's advancement toward Iraq's capital.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the Mesa Verde has already moved into the Gulf, joining the aircraft carrierUSS George H.W. Bush and other U.S. naval ships.

Kirby says the ships' presence will give President Barack Obama "additional options to protect American citizens and interests in Iraq."

The Pentagon says the Mesa Verde carries Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that can be used for crisis response.

The State Department is reinforcing security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and evacuating some personnel. The militant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, has taken over several cities in northern Iraq.

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