JERUSALEM (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the United States will support Iraq's fight against al-Qaida-linked militants who have overrun two cities, but won't send in American troops.
Kerry said the militants are trying to destabilize the region and undermine a democratic process in Iraq, and that the U.S. is in contact with tribal leaders in Anbar province who are standing up to the terrorists.
But, he said, "this is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis."
Al-Qaida linked gunmen have largely taken over the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in an uprising that has been a blow to the Shiite-led government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Kerry made the comments as he left Jerusalem for talks with leaders in Jordan and Saudi Arabia about his Mideast peace-making efforts after three days of lengthy meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.