Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Two U.S. warplanes bombed a mobile artillery of Islamic militants in northern Iraq on Friday to stop it from shelling Kurdish troops and protect the staff of the U.S. consulate in Erbil.
The F/A-18 fighter jets took off from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf and dropped a 500-pound laser-guided bomb on the artillery being used by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces against Kurdish troops defending Erbil, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities” Kirby said.
President Barack Obama authorized the airstrike on Thursday as ISIS forces were threatening American personnel in the consulate. Aside from artillery positions, Obama ordered airstrikes on ISIS convoys if they move towards Erbil.
The President also said the U.S. Air Force will lend aerial support to Iraqi forces trying to break the ISIS siege of Sinjar.
The ISIS airstrike follows airdrops by U.S. military cargo planes to thousands of starving and thirsty ethnic Iraqis in Mount Sinjar on Thursday.
The Yazidis were forced out of their homes and villages in Sinjar town by ISIS forces and they took refuge in the top of the mountain to escape execution from the Islamic militants.
A C-17 and two C-130s escorted by two F/A-18 fighter jets dropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 rations to the stranded Yazidis.