U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Have Begun

After conducting humanitarian air-drops Thursday night, the U.S. is now going after ISIS.

Iraqis inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion outside the Shiite Mustafa prayer hall, or Husseiniya, in the southwest of the northern Kurdish controlled Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Aug. 7.
National Journal
Matt Berman
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Matt Berman
Aug. 8, 2014, 4:59 a.m.

The Pentagon has an­nounced that U.S. air­strikes have be­gun in Ir­aq.

Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a state­ment that the “tar­geted air­strike” oc­curred at roughly 6:45 a.m. EDT Fri­day morn­ing and con­sisted of 500-pound, laser-guided bombs dropped by two F/A-18 air­craft. The at­tack was on a piece of ar­til­lery that the Pentagon says was be­ing used to at­tack Kur­d­ish forces de­fend­ing Er­bil, where U.S. per­son­nel and a U.S. con­su­late are loc­ated.

A second round of air­strikes tar­get­ing IS­IS came later Fri­day morn­ing. At 10 a.m. EDT, a drone hit an IS­IS mor­tar, ac­cord­ing to Kirby. A second strike came at ap­prox­im­ately 11:20 a.m., con­duc­ted by four F/A-18 jets on a con­voy of sev­en IS­IS vehicles and a mor­tar po­s­i­tion near Er­bil.

CBS re­ports that IS­IS has suffered cas­u­al­ties in the new at­tacks, and the Pentagon says that IS­IS fight­ers were “suc­cess­fully elim­in­ated.”

The mil­it­ary ac­tion comes after Pres­id­ent Obama an­nounced Thursday night that the U.S. had con­duc­ted a hu­man­it­ari­an op­er­a­tion to air-drop food and wa­ter to thou­sands of Ir­aqis un­der siege by the Is­lam­ic State in Ir­aq and Syr­ia (IS­IS). The United Na­tions Refugee Agency said it is work­ing with the Ir­aqi gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish refugee camps, “but as front lines con­tin­ue to shift, sites can quickly be­come in­sec­ure.”

Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil spokes­wo­man Ber­na­dette Mee­han said that the White House is keep­ing Con­gress in­formed of its ac­tions. “The ad­min­is­tra­tion has been con­sult­ing closely with Con­gress about events in Ir­aq over the past num­ber of weeks and has ad­di­tion­ally con­sul­ted with Con­gress on these ac­tions,” she said.

The Fed­er­al Avi­ation Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced Fri­day that it has banned U.S.-op­er­ated air­lines from fly­ing over Ir­aq due to the “the po­ten­tially haz­ard­ous situ­ation cre­ated by the armed con­flict,” su­per­sed­ing a pre­vi­ous ad­vis­ory that sus­pen­ded air­craft from fly­ing be­low 30,000 feet in Ir­aqi air­space.

Obama warned Thursday of a pos­sible gen­o­cide in Ir­aq’s north­w­est, where tens of thou­sands of Ir­aqi Yazidi ci­vil­ians have been stran­ded for days on a moun­tain­top, threatened by IS­IS forces. On Thursday, the U.S. suc­cess­fully air-dropped 5,300 gal­lons of drink­ing wa­ter and 8,000 meals ready-to-eat near Sin­jar.

“We can act, care­fully and re­spons­ibly, to pre­vent a po­ten­tial act of gen­o­cide,” Obama said Thursday night. 

The AP re­leased raw video Fri­day morn­ing of Ir­aqi army troops de­liv­er­ing hu­man­it­ari­an aid to Yazid­is:

{{third­PartyEmbed type:you­tube id:beXX4s9iggI}}

House Speak­er John Boehner is­sued a state­ment Fri­day morn­ing, say­ing that while the au­thor­iz­a­tion of air­strikes is “ap­pro­pri­ate,” he is “dis­mayed by the on­go­ing ab­sence of a strategy for coun­ter­ing the grave threat IS­IS poses to the re­gion.” Boehner called on Obama to form a “long-term strategy” and said that he is “ready to listen and work” with Obama if such a strategy is put for­ward.

This story is break­ing and will be up­dated.

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