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New wave of US airstrikes on Islamic State in northern Iraq

Reporter: Jim Spellman 丨 CCTV.com

08-09-2014 12:20 BJT

The United States has launched several airstrikes against the Sunni insurgent group, the Islamic State, in northern Iraq. The strikes came one day after US President Barack Obama authorized the actions, as the Islamic State advanced on Irbil - a town where Americans are still stationed.

The United States has begun military action toward two different goals in Iraq.

Goal one: Push back Islamic State, or IS, militants who have expanded their reach in northern Iraq and are approaching Irbil, the Kurdish capital where the U-S has stationed diplomats and military advisors.

Ben Rhodes, US Deputy Nat'l Security Adviser, said, "Top priority for the United States is the security of our people. We have people in Irbil and if we can advance, we are going to hit it."

Airstrikes began Friday when a pair of F-18 fighters, launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H-W Bush in the Arabian Gulf, dropped 226 kilogram laser-guided missiles on IS artillery targets. Later in the day a drone targeted IS mortar positions then four more F-18s attacked a militant convoy.

Goal two: Humanitarian assistance for tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees --- members of a religious minority group who are trapped on top of Mount Sinjar -- surrounded by Islamic State militants--facing death by exposure, dehydration or starvation if they stay or death at the hands of the militants if they descend from the mountain.

The US made the first air drop of humanitarian supplies early Friday- more than 20,000 liters of water, eight-thousand meals and basic medical supplies. US officials say more humanitarian air drops are possible and that US airstrikes could be used against the militants surrounding the mountain.

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, said, "The President has authorized military strikes that could be used to address that situation at the mountain. There are Kurdish Security forces that are seeking to dislodge that siege there at Sinjar mountain and if American military assets could be helpful in supporting Kurdish forces then airstrikes could be carried out in pursuit of that goal."

We could see more airstrikes coming but long-term, the US sees this as a problem that needs an Iraqi political solution and not an American military solution.

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