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Iranian military leader visiting Iraq
Baghdad (AP) -- An Iranian military commander is visiting Iraq, consulting with officials on how to roll back the al-Qaida breakaway group that's been capturing some key Iraqi cities.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is looking to link areas under its control on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.
Iraqi officials say the general who commands Iran's elite Quds force has been inspecting Iraqi defenses, and reviewing plans with top commanders and with Iraqi Shiite militias that are supported by Iran.
He also visited the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala south of Baghdad, home to the most revered Shiite shrines, and areas west of Baghdad where government forces have faced off with Islamic militants for months. The Islamic State has threatened to march to Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf.
The officials say the United States was notified in advance of the visit.
Secretary of State John Kerry said today that the Obama administration is willing to talk to Iran, as both nations look for ways to stop the Iraqi insurgents.