America launches air strikes against ISIS
The air strikes on Friday took place shortly following the start of relief supplies dropped by air to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing militants in Iraq.
The Pentagon said two US fighter jets dropped bombs on Islamist militants in Iraq towing artillery outside Arbil near US personnel.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it.
He said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) had been using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Arbil where US personnel are located.
“The decision to strike was made by the US Central Command commander under authorisation granted him by the commander in chief,” he said.
On Thursday US President Barack Obama authorised air strikes on Iraq to protect Christians and prevent “genocide” of tens of thousands of members of an ancient sect sheltering on a desert mountaintop from Isil fighters threatening to exterminate them.
Obama said he had authorised limited bombing to blunt the onslaught of militants who have captured swathes of northern Iraq and advanced to a half-hour drive from the Kurdish regional capital, Arbil.
It was the first time since the Islamists — an offshoot of Al Qaida — began a lightning offensive in June, overrunning swathes of northern and western Iraq and declaring a “caliphate” in captured areas of Iraq and Syria, that the United States has opted for military action.