WASHINGTON - The United States is considering US air strikes to help the Iraqi government fend off an Islamist insurgency as well as possible discussions with neighboring Iran, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

Asked about the possibility of such strikes, Kerry said in an interview with Yahoo! News: "They're not the whole answer, but they may well be one of the options that are important."

"When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that. And you do what you need to do if you need to try to stop it from the air or otherwise," he added.

Kerry also said the United States was "open to discussions" with Iran to help Iraq's Shi'ite-led government combat a Sunni Islamist insurgency.

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