US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the USS George H.W. Bush, which carries dozens of fighter jets, to move into the Persian Gulf on Saturday.
The 103,000-ton warship is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun, which carry a large number of Tomahawk missiles, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The ships were due to arrive in the Persian Gulf late on Saturday.
“The order will provide the Commander-in-Chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
On Friday, Obama said , “We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq’s security forces.”
On June 10, the militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of Nineveh province, including its provincial capital Mosul, in a lightning advance, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital Baghdad.