Airstrikes and humanitarian missions from United States to protect religious minorities in Iraq 0808

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Defence & Security News - United States

 
 
Friday, August 8, 2014 08:11 AM
 
Airstrikes and humanitarian missions from United States to protect religious minorities in Iraq.
President Barack Obama has ordered U.S. aircraft to drop humanitarian supplies to tens of thousands of Yezidi refugees fleeing the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in northern Iraq. The president also ordered U.S. combat aircraft to be ready to launch airstrikes to protect Americans in Erbil, Iraq, and to lift the siege of the Yezidis.
     
President Barack Obama has ordered U.S. aircraft to drop humanitarian supplies to tens of thousands of Yezidi refugees fleeing the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in northern Iraq. The president also ordered U.S. combat aircraft to be ready to launch airstrikes to protect Americans in Erbil, Iraq, and to lift the siege of the Yezidis.
On Saturday, the Iraqi military successfully thwarted a militant attack on the Baiji oil refinery, located 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, following heavy clashes with ISIL terrorists near the facility.
     
The first missions – a C-17 Globemaster III and two C-130 Hercules airlifters escorted by F-18 Super Hornets –already have delivered supplies to the beleaguered Yezidis, a religious minority that ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has vowed to eliminate.

“Today, America is coming to help,” Obama said during a nationally televised address tonight at the White House. “When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I think the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.”

Obama authorized two operations in Iraq. The first is targeted airstrikes to defend Americans. The most immediate threat now is in Irbil, where the United States maintains a consulate. ISIL has launched a broad attack that has threatened the city. The airstrikes are not limited to Irbil.

Senior officials speaking on background after the president’s address said ISIL is a competent force that poses real danger to religious minorities in Iraq.

The second operation is to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain. “In recent days, the Yezidi women, men, and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives, and thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, are now hiding high up on the mountain with little but the clothes on their backs,” Obama said. “They are without food, they are without water. People are starving, and children are dying of thirst.”

August daytime temperatures in Iraq soar well into the 100s. The aircraft dropped enough water and food for 8,000 people, White House officials said. Obama also authorized targeted airstrikes to help Iraqi forces to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.

The several hundred American advisors the president ordered to Iraq will continue to assess what more can be done to help train, advise and support Iraqi forces, Obama said.
 

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