President Obama authorized a mission for U.S. fighter jets to launch “targeted” airstrikes on Friday against the army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The strikes took place in northern Iraq where ISIS had made significant gains this week.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it. The Pentagon said the military conducted the strike at 6:45 a.m. ET, against terrorists with the Islamic State (IS), the group formerly known as ISIS.
“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 the city of Irbil, after IS used the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending the city where U.S. personnel are located, the Pentagon said.
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The air strikes mark a significant escalation in U.S. engagement in Iraq since combat troop withdrawals in December 2011.
President Obama warned that Iraqi civilians face a potential genocide at the hands of ISIS militants. But he also stressed that combat troops will not be returning to Iraq, while still declaring America has a right to assist the refugees.