Iraqi forces have blocked an immediate threat to the capital Baghdad, which means they no longer require immediate U.S. air strikes to halt the advance of Sunni fighters, a senior ally of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he would send up to 300 military advisors to Iraq. Iraq has asked for air support for its forces battling advancing fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The senior Maliki ally welcomed Obama’s announcement and said the advisors would help identify ISIL targets which could be hit by air strikes in the future, now that the urgent need to safeguard the capital had receded. […]