Sunday, September 07, 2014

U.S. Launches Airstrikes in Haditha, Expanding Iraqi Bombing Campaign

American Aircraft Hit Islamic State Fighters Near Dam in Sunni Heartland

By Dion Nissenbaum, WSJ
Updated Sept. 7, 2014 3:24 a.m. ET

TBILISI, Georgia—The U.S. military opened a new phase in an expanding campaign against Islamic State militants, launching airstrikes on Sunni extremist fighters threatening a major Iraqi dam, defense officials said Sunday.

American aircraft hit Islamic State fighters near Haditha Dam, a strategic site in the Sunni heartland northwest of Baghdad, according to Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. The U.S. military said the four strikes destroyed five Humvees, an armored vehicle and an Islamic State checkpoint near the dam.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the strikes against fighters of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS, came at the request of the Iraqi government and were in line with the limited objectives of the current U.S. military mission in Iraq to protect infrastructure in the country.

"If that dam were to fall into ISIL's hands, or if the dam were to be destroyed, the damage that that would cause would be very significant," Mr. Hagel said Sunday during a joint press conference in Tbilisi with Georgia Defense Minister Irakli Alasania.

(More here.)

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