Top officer in Iraq: 'We must neutralize this enemy'
The militants are well organized, equipped and funded, Bednarek said, and they caught the Iraqi forces off guard.
"This is a very, very difficult, dire and dangerous situation here in Iraq," he said. "We're very concerned about the deteriorating security situation as well as the growing humanitarian crisis. It's not good, and it's not improving fast enough."
President Obama has authorized humanitarian aid to trapped minorities in Iraq, and is considering other options that include possible air strikes against militants, a government official said.