Pentagon chief, general to hold 1930 GMT news conference

AFPAugust 21, 2014
(R-L) US President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey participate in a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia on May 26, 2014
(R-L) US President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey participate in a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia on May 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Yuri Gripas)

Washington (AFP) - Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel and top US General Martin Dempsey will hold a press conference on Thursday at 3:30 pm (1930 GMT), officials said.

The briefing comes after President Barack Obama called for international action against Islamist extremists in Iraq and followed revelations that the US military had tried and failed to rescue US hostages held by the militants in neighboring Syria earlier this year.

The US military has been carrying out bombing raids against fighters with the so-called "Islamic State," which has seized much of eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

The extremists released a video this week showing a masked militant beheading US reporter James Foley, provoking worldwide revulsion and condemnation.