Pentagon announces airstrikes on ISIL targets in Iraq
The U.S. military said Friday it has launched targeted airstrikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in north Iraq by dropping two laser-guided bombs on their mobile artillery.
"The mission really is to protect American personnel in Erbil and potentially even in and around Baghdad. And this is an important point -- to try to help Iraqi security forces as they go after this threat," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at an emergency press briefing.
"This is a threat inside their country, to their people, to their sovereignty, and ultimately this is an Iraqi fight to fight," he said.
"For our part, we're committed to two things -- one is trying to relieve that humanitarian issue there on Mount Sinjar and of course being prepared and ready to conduct air strikes to protect American personnel," Kirby added.
It's a problem for the international community, which has also responded with some humanitarian assistance, he noted, adding that the U.S. army is prepared to do what President Barack Obama has authorized: providing air drops of supplies to those Iraqi citizens on Mount Sinjar, and conducing airstrikes on ISIL targets "if and when required."