Thursday, President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes in Iraq in order to protect Americans and civilians in the region. He also gave the green light to air drop food and water to Iraqis trapped on a mountainside in flee of Islamic militants. "We intend to stay vigilant and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or our facilities anywhere in Iraq," the president said.
The airstrikes began Friday near the Kurdish city of Irbil and today we have learned of four additional strikes on armored trucks that were allegedly firing at civilians. This is the third round of strikes the U.S. has launched since Friday.
The Associated Press reports:
The U.S. military says American jet fighters and drones have conducted four more airstrikes on Islamic militants in Iraq, taking out armored carriers and a truck that were firing on civilians.
U.S. Central Command says the strikes were spread out, with three before noon Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday and one about 3 p.m.
The military says indications suggest that the strikes were successful in destroying the armored vehicles.
This is the third round of airstrikes against Islamic State forces by the U.S. military since they were authorized by President Barack Obama.
From the Wall Street Journal:
In the first, U.S. fighters and drones struck one of two Islamic State armored personnel carriers seen firing on Yazidi civilians near the town of Sinjar, and destroyed it.
In the second strike following soon after, U.S. forces struck three more Islamic State vehicles—two more armed carriers and a technical vehicle.
In the third strike, U.S. aircraft located and fired on two additional carriers and an armed truck, and were successful in destroying the intended targets.
In the fourth strike, the U.S. located and struck another armed personnel carrier near Sinjar, with indications that the strike was successful in destroying it, military officials said. All aircraft safely exited the area, the officials said.
Members of the radical Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) continue to brutally murder religious minorities in their mission to establish a Caliphate throughout large swaths of Iraq and Syria. Tens of thousands have been displaced due to the conflict as the militants have begun to slaughter Christians in their advance into northern Iraq.
In a statement delivered this morning, President Obama announced that there are no current plans to evacuate the U.S. embassy or consulate in Iraq. He stressed that we will not solve this problem in a matter of weeks, but humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians would be a "long-term project."
Now, President Obama is headed to Martha's Vineyard for his annual two-week vacation.