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President Obama on Monday called for peace in Ferguson, Missouri, following another night of unrest in in the wake of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
"Let me call again for understanding," said Obama. "Let's seek to heal rather than wounding each other."
The president said that he didn't want to appear to be tipping the scales by weighing in too heavily on the case, but added that "we have to make sure the cause of justice and fair administration of the law is being brought to bear in Ferguson.
"In order to do that," he said, "we have to make sure we can distinguish between peaceful protesters ... and those who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior, by tossing Molotov cocktails, or looting stores ... that may be a small minority, but they are damaging the cause, not advancing it."
Obama also announced that Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with FBI agents and other Department of Justice workers conducting a separate federal investigation into the Brown shooting.
The president said Holder will also meet with law-enforcement officials and other leaders in the community to "help bring about peace and calm in Ferguson."
The press briefing followed meetings Obama had with his national security team in the morning and with Holder in the afternoon.
During the news conference on Monday the president also addressed the situation in Iraq, saying that U.S,. forces had made gains against ISIS militants in the north who had taken over the country's largest dam and were threatening thousands of ethnic minorities.
Obama has taken a two-day break from his Martha's Vineyard summer vacation to huddle with top advisers at the White House. Obama has faced criticism for spending two weeks on the Massachusetts island in the midst of crises at home and abroad.