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August 08, 2014 08:51 AM

U.S. Launches First Airstrikes In Iraq

The Pentagon says two U.S. fighter jets dropped bombs on Islamic militants in Iraq towing artillery outside Irbil near U.S. personnel.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound bombs on a piece of artillery and the truck towing it.

President Barack Obama authorized such airstrikes Thursday when the Islamic state militant group advanced on Irbil, in northeastern Iraq, where U.S. military trainers are stationed.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. military has enough intelligence to clearly single out Islamic militants and launch effective airstrikes if they threaten U.S. interests or the thousands of refugees who fled to a mountaintop.

Hagel also says that more than 60 of 72 bundles of food and water airdropped onto the mountain reached the Iraqi religious minorities stranded there.

A day after President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes and humanitarian aid in northern Iraq, the military says it has the assets and resources in place to launch strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft based in the region.

Hagel says no airstrikes have been launched, and the Iraqis have not requested additional humanitarian aid. He says top U.S. leaders will meet later to assess the situation.

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