US warplanes strike jihadist targets in northern Iraq
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The United States has conducted targeted airstrikes on military positions of the Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Iraq.
Writing on Twitter on Friday afternoon, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby, said that US forces bombed the jihadists after artillery fire against Kurdish regional government forces defending their capital Arbil.
Obama announced on Thursday that the United States sent warplanes to the affected region that could strike IS militants if they were to advance further on the city of Abril.
Following an urgent call from the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Thursday that the United Nations Security Council intervenes to protect religious minorities in Iraq, President Barack Obama ordered military planes to the northern part of the country to prevent a possible genocide, following the seizure of towns by jihadists.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of people, mostly from the Christian minority group in the country, have fled their homes to escape death if they don’t convert to Islam. Reports coming from the affected towns suggest unprecedented persecution of Christians who fall into the hands of the IS jihadists.
The US has also sent planes that dropped supplies of food and water in the Sinjar Mountains in the northern part of the country where thousands of these displaced Iraqis are hiding.
On Thursday the Islamic State took control of Iraq’s largest dam, the Mosul dam. This gives them greater power in the region, because the dam provides water and
electricity to their main stronghold and is crucial for their state-building efforts.
French President Francois Hollande spoke with the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Massud Barzani by telephone on Thursday. In a statement he confirmed that France “was available to support the forces engaged in this battle".
There was no further clarification on what this “support” would entail.
A Paris-based activist of the Committee to Support Iraqi Christians, Christelle Yalap told RFI that the UN must take steps to address the issue of governance in Iraq and ensure the country gets its own army to protect the people.
She added: “There is about a 150 thousand people walking because they can’t take anything with them... First of all these people need humanitarian help – they need water, food, they need clothes. And with the summertime, without water the people can’t live.”
An estimated 1.2 million people have fled their homes in Iraq since the IS has expanded its control in the country in the past two months.