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U.S. airstrikes underway in Iraq, destroying Islamic State artillery

Following U.S. President Barack Obama's authorization on Thursday to use "targeted strikes" against the Islamic State, two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jets conducted targeted airstrikes on Friday to destroy artillery used by the IS to attack Kurdish Peshmerga forces defending Erbil.
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 8, 2014 at 10:41 AM

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Pentagon confirmed Friday that the U.S. military has begun "targeted" airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in northern Iraq.

Around 6:45 a.m. EDT on Friday, two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter jets dropped 500 lb. laser-guided bombs on militant artillery used by the IS (also known as ISIS and ISIL). The strike was launched against an unspecified area near the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

IS has advanced on Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday to authorize targeted airstrikes.

"To stop the advance on Erbil, I've directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city," Obama said during a televised address from the White House on Thursday evening.

American personnel are located at the U.S. consulate in Erbil.

Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that the U.S. military targeted the IS artillery because it had been used to attack Kurdish Peshmerga forces who are defending Erbil.

"As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities."
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