US starts attacking ISIL bases in north of Iraq

US starts attacking ISIL bases in north of Iraq
Fri Aug 8, 2014 20:01:44

The US has started attacking militant bases for the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in north of Iraq as two US F/A-18 jet fighters bombed artillery into several areas.

US President Barack Obama authorized "targeted airstrikes" if needed to protect US personnel from ISIL militants.

The US military also could use airstrikes to prevent what officials warn could be a genocide of minority groups by the ISIL.

US warplanes patrolling the skies over northern Iraq have a "green light" to go after perceived ISIL threats to the Kurdish capital, Irbil, or to minority populations, said deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

The first strike involved 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a "mobile artillery piece" used by ISIL at about 6:45 a.m. ET Friday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

It came in response to an ISIL advance this week on what officials call US interests in Iraq's Kurdish region in the north. The militants took towns from the Kurdish fighting force known as the Peshmerga.

Before the onslaught, the region had been the most stable in Iraq and a cooperative ally of the United States. US military advisers and consular personnel are stationed in Irbil.

The mobile artillery battery hit Friday was based outside Irbil, Kirby said.

In announcing his decision Thursday night, Obama said the militants would get hit "should they move towards the city."

Kurdish leaders have been pleading for the United States or NATO to buttress their forces against the ISIL from the air. Obama seems to have heard their appeal.

"We do whatever is necessary to protect our people," Obama said, adding, "We support our allies when they're in danger."

ISIL have been advancing in Iraq since June 10, without facing any international confrontation, slaughtering civilians and occupying towns and villages in Iraq.

The terrorist group maintains a permanent base in Syria and has announced forming a ‘state’ in Iraq’s Mosul.


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