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US Airstrikes take out ISIS targets

On Obama’s orders, Military strikes Iraqi terrorists

F-18 en route to target | CREDIT: Wiki Commons

F-18 en route to target | CREDIT: Wiki Commons

After President Obama announced plans to strike Islamic militants in Iraq, U.S. F-18’s were launched and dropped two 500 pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck carrying it. Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed the details of the strike and that the strike occurred at 6:45am.

“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against [IS] when they threaten our personnel and facilities,” Kirby said. The strike took place near a city that ISIS attacked Kurdish forces who were defending U.S. personnel. This strike comes after Obama announced late Thursday that he has authorized limited military force to defend American personnel in the region and to protect civilians who are stranded on a mountain.

This is the strongest U.S. engagement in Iraq since the withdrawal of troops in late 2011. Along with the air-strike. The military air dropped aid to those stuck on the mountain. The president warned that the civilians face a potential genocide at the hands of IS militants. He stressed that combat troops will not be returning to Iraq, but said America has an obligation to help.

“When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama said. “We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.”

Kirby said the F-18’s originated from the USS George HW Bush near the Persian Gulf. Senators McCain and Graham released a statement on the actions that Obama took: “The president is right to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi civilians stranded on Mount Sinjar and to authorize military strikes against ISIS forces that are threatening them, our Kurdish allies, and our own personnel in northern Iraq,” Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement. “However, these actions are far from sufficient to meet the growing threat that ISIS poses. We need a strategic approach, not just a humanitarian one.”

One senior Administration official explained that Obama would continue airstrikes based on military decision-making in regards to potential targets that may present themselves that can help relieve the pressure on Mount Sinjar. One key point of these airstrikes is that Iraq invited us over and asked for help which allowed the President to authorize these attacks. The area that ISIS is focused on attacking is continuously monitored through drones as well as jets. According to a senior administration official, the President has authorized a continual drop site if necessary. In order to appease Americans, President Obama has placed limits on the type of action that the military is taking.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday condemned the attacks on minorities in Iraq and urged international support for the Iraqi government. The council said that the attacks could constitute crimes against humanity and that those responsible should be held accountable.

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