US mounts new wave of airstrikes


The U.S. military launched a new round of airstrikes and emergency aid drops to help a beleaguered city in Iraq thwart Islamic militants, the Pentagon announced late Saturday night.


The humanitarian aid was flown to the town of Amirli, where thousands of Shiite Turkomen, an ethnic minority within Iraq, have been cut off from food and water for nearly two months by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Aircraft from Australia, France and the United Kingdom joined the U.S. in delivering the aid.

"These military operations were conducted under authorization from the Commander-in-Chief to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to prevent an ISIL attack on the civilians of Amirli," Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

"The operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli." 

The aid came at the request of the Iraqi government, Kirby said.

Saturday's operation came nearly a month after the U.S. launched airstrikes in northern Iraq, where members of the Yazidi religious minority were trapped by ISIS on Mount Sinjar.

Yazidis received several humanitarian drops of food and water as well as military support aimed at protecting them.

The latest mission has widened the U.S. effort to confront ISIS, which has seized territory from Syria and across northern Iraq.