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Hagel orders US aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. aircraft carrier is being moved from the northern Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf as President Barack Obama considers possible military options for Iraq.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the order to move the USS George H.W. Bush will give the president added flexibility if military action is required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq.

Accompanying the carrier are the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. The ships are expected to complete the trip shortly.

The ships carry Tomahawk missiles, which could reach Iraq. The Bush is carrying fighter jets that could also easily get to Iraq, where a fast-moving Islamic insurgency is gaining territory.