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Sunday, 10 August 2014

US in new strikes on Iraq militants


The US military says it has carried out four new air strikes on militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq.
US Central Command said jet fighters and drones had destroyed armoured carriers and a truck that were firing on members of the Yazidi sect.
Thousands of civilians fled into the mountains after the Islamic State (IS) overran the town of Sinjar a week ago.
This is the third round of US air strikes since they were authorised by President Barack Obama.

The previous strikes targeted IS (formerly known as Isis) forces threatening the Kurdish city of Irbil.
Aid consignments
A US military statement said the latest strikes had been defending members of the Yazidi religious group who were being “indiscriminately attacked” near Sinjar.
These Yazidi refugees have sought shelter at a camp near the Syria-Iraq border
It said a mix of fighter jets and drones destroyed an IS armoured personnel carrier (APC) that was firing on civilians near Sinjar.
The statement said US aircraft then monitored movement of other APCs and an armed truck and attacked them.
The series of strikes is the first time US forces have been directly involved in a military operation in Iraq since they withdrew from the country in late 2011.
In recent days US aircraft have also dropped food and water to those trapped in the mountains.
Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, are struggling to stop the advance of IS fighters
France and Britain have also announced that they will deliver aid consignments.
On Friday, President Obama warned it was “going to take some time” to help Iraqis overcome the jihadist-led rebellion and stabilise their country.
It would be a “long-term project” to revamp and resupply the military and build support among Sunnis, he said.
IS has seized swathes of land in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq in recent months, declaring it a “caliphate”.
The militant Islamists have been widely accused of persecuting and killing members of other faiths.
The UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, says at least 56 Yazidi children have died of dehydration in the mountains around Sinjar.
UK officials estimated on Saturday that between 50,000 and 150,000 people could be trapped there.
Juan Mohammed, a local government spokesman in the Syrian city of Qamishli, told AP news agency that more than 20,000 starving Yazidis were fleeing across the border.
He said columns of refugees were running a gauntlet of gunfire through a tenuous “safe passage” being defended by Kurdish forces.
“They are barefoot, tired and left everything behind,” he said.
Mr Mohammed warned that without significant help soon, those who haven’t crossed “will be subjected to genocide.”
Are you in northern Iraq? Do you have friends and family in the area? If willing to be interviewed about your experiences, or to provide information on the ongoing situation, please emailhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk using the heading ‘Iraq air strikes’.
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