AIRSTRIKES AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE
The United States military launched its first airstrikes against the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) at 6:45 AM this morning. The strikes came hours after Barack Obama authorized the military to carry out such strikes.
According to a statement released by the Pentagon, two F/A-18 Hornet strike fighters hit artillery operated by the Islamic State that was firing on the city of Irbil, which is the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Hornets used laser-guided 500-pound bombs, known as GBU-12s.
Previously, C-130 and C-17 aircraft, escorted by F/A-18s, had air-dropped supplies to the Yazidi, a religious minority that practices a form of Zoroastrianism. As many as 50,000 refugees have fled to mountains near the city of Sinjar.
“The decision to strike was made by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement released at 10:18 AM this morning.
House Speaker John Boehner released a statement supporting the air strikes, but added, “I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region. Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration.”