Washington, Aug 8 :
US President Barack Obama has authorized targeted air strikes and air drops for Iraq’s aid amid a humanitarian crisis.
Speaking at the White House Thursday, Obama said he authorized air strikes “if necessary” against Islamic militants, who have advanced into the Kurdish region of Iraq and seized the country’s largest dam Thursday, reported Xinhua.
Obama said he had directed US forces to conduct targeted air strikes on the militants if they threaten the American citizens and military personnel there.
He said he authorized the military at the request of the Iraqi government to help provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi citizens, many of them religious minorities, who are trapped on a mountain top surrounded by Islamic militants.
The president also announced that the US launched air drops of food and water on the mountain top in northern Iraq Thursday.
“When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I think the United States cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama said.
However, he also declared that he had run for the presidency in part to end America’s involvement in the Iraqi war, repeating his promise that the United States would not send ground troops back to Iraq.