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Iraq crisis: Obama authorises air strikes in Iraq

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DAVID USBORNE
London Independent
August 8, 2014

President Barack Obama said late Thursday that he had authorised limited air strikes in Iraq to slow the advance of militant fighters of ISIS and confirmed that US Air Force cargo planes had begun humanitarian airdrops of food and other supplies in a bid to save the lives of religious minority Iraqis trapped on a mountain top.

“Today America is coming to help,” he declared in a late night statement from the White House. Earlier he had met with members of his national security team to discuss the growing threat to the Kurdish city of Erbil where a number of American personnel are based. Protecting American lives was the president’s first concern, sources said.

At the same meeting, President Obama also approved the start of the airdrops in response to a request from the Iraqi government.  US planes have delivered food, water and medical supplies to some 40,000 Iraqis of the minority Yazidi religion who have fled into a mountainous area in north Iraq for fear of being slaughtered by the ISIS forces.  US and European officials had earlier expressed concern that a human catastrophe could occur if no one intervened.

The panicked exodus to the mountains began when ISIS jihadist fighters seized the town of Qaraqosh, Iraq’s biggest Christian town. Three US cargo aircraft flew to the area overnight escorted by American fighter jets.

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This article was posted: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 5:00 am





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