US Military May Be Poised to Strike Against Militants in Iraq

Jonathan Karl is at the White House as the president and his security team weigh the risks.
3:53 | 08/07/14

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Transcript for US Military May Be Poised to Strike Against Militants in Iraq
Night ABC news has learned the US military is poised and ready to strike against militants in Iraq. Already in the air at this hour US humanitarian aid mission is already underway. The US working to get supplies to families and children on the ground in Iraq we have seen these images in recent days. Families trapped with no food and water in the mountains of Northern Iraq. US planes flying low heavy military protection at the ready. And all of this unfolding right now today the president and his national security team weighing the real dangers the risks involved flying over a very hostile region. Our team on the breaking news tonight Jon -- was at the White House but let's start with our chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz live in our Washington bureau tonight Martha good evening. Good evening David if the president decides Americans are under threat in Iraq the US military is ready to strike. Militant fighters are on the move taking over key parts of the country. Parts -- Americans could be in danger. OK tonight American military strikes are a very real options those militant fighters are taking. All of Iraq now threatening the capital of the Kurdish region -- deal. Where America has a key outpost with military consultants. And a consulate. If the militants threatened a US official says the US is ready to strike. But tonight a humanitarian. Mission is already under way. Three air force cargo jets tonight. Dropping critical aid food and water it is a race to stop a catastrophe. At least 101000 people. Families who fled to the top of the mountain now collapsing from blistering heat. Pleading that there is no water no bread nearly twenty children already dead. They are trapped atop this mountain 3000 feet up with -- estate. Because down below prices terrorists have taken over their homes warning this. Hotter if they return that is barbaric. It's disgusting we are seeing these other religious and ethnic minorities. Be persecuted just because of their identities we've -- -- long seeing air support up close. But dropping food water and medicine into this hostile environments is a complicated and dangerous mission. Prices fighters now have surface to air missiles and a slew of other fire power you have to get very low and very slow because what's happening. Is -- gonna push these health supply. Off the back back to the -- Beyond threatening -- key city crisis is taking control of the largest dam in the country this source of electricity and water. -- US military is watching this -- extremely closely and have all the necessary warplanes in place if needed. Which could put the US right back in a combat role in the war the president thought had ended David all right. Martha Raddatz thank you let's get right to John Carlin John you could almost see this in the president's face today to waited this decision -- risks involved. David I think -- have most heavily on the president today as he met with his national security team here at the White House. Is the threat the terrorist threat to that city of her -- and that's because not only is strategically important but as you weren't marked the report there are Americans there. Forty of the military advisors the president sent to Iraq. Are stationed -- -- -- and there is a US consulate there -- filled with Americans as a matter of fact when there was trouble in Baghdad two months ago. The US -- diplomats out of Baghdad and put -- -- because it was considered safe. -- the president has said David that protecting American personnel serving overseas is his top priority. That may mean that he will have to do what he has long avoided doing. Which is calling in military airstrikes Iraq all right Jon Karl and Martha Raddatz leading -- --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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