[guest post by Dana]
Targeting militants in northern Iraq, the U.S. military launched airstrikes early this morning:
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.
The airstrikes began just hours after the president gave his authorization.
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.
Yesterday, the White House outlined the conditions for airstrikes:
A senior administration official described the airstrike authorization Thursday as “narrow” but outlined a number of broad contingencies in which they could be launched, including a possible threat to U.S. personnel in Baghdad from possible breaches in a major dam Islamist forces seized Thursday that could flood the Iraqi capital.
U.S. aircraft also are authorized to launch airstrikes if the military determines that Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are unable to break the siege that has stranded tens of thousands of civilians belonging to the minority Yazidi sect atop a barren mountain outside the northern town of Sinjar.
(Humanitarian aid flights yesterday dropped 72 bundles of supplies, including thousands of gallons of water.)