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U.S. military conducts airstrike in Iraq

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U.S. military conducts airstrike in Iraq

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Aug 8, 2014

According to the Pentagon, two U.S. fighter jets have dropped bombs on Islamic militants in Iraq who were towing artillery near U.S. personnel in Erbil.

The airstrike was announced by Pentagon Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Twitter Friday morning.

U.S. F-18 jet fighters dropped 500 pound laser-guided bombs during the airstrike, according to the Wall Street Journal.

President Barack Obama authorized such a strike on Thursday to protect American personnel and help Iraqi forces. The President said that he would direct the United States military to make targeted strikes against Islamist militants "should they move towards the city" of Erbil or towards the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Obama also said that he would authorize targeted airstrikes "if necessary" to help Iraqi forces protect civilians who were trapped in the mountains of the country's Kurdish region because of the fighting.

Obama described the threats against the stranded civilians as holding the potential for "genocide."

The U.S. military has been delivering meals and water to thousands of people who fled the town of Sinjar and are currently trapped in the nearby mountains. Twenty children frm that group have already reportedly died.

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The Sunni Muslim group IS, formerly known as Isis, currently has control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon says the IS has been shelling Kurdish forces defending Erbil.

The airstrike is the first one carried out by the U.S. military in Iraq since the withdrawal of its forces at the end of 2011. President Obama also said on Thursday that the United States would not be sending troops to Iraq.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to NowTrending.com.