News / Middle East

US Conducts New Iraq Airstrikes Against Islamic State Insurgents

  • An F/A-18C Hornet coming from Iraq lands on the flight deck of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on Sunday, August. 10, 2014, in the Persian Gulf.
  • Iraq's newly elected president Fouad Masoum, right, meets with French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, left, shakes hands with Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani after a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in a village on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh near the border province of Dohuk, Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, take refuge at Dohuk province, Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014.
  • Ala Talabani, a Kurdish lawmaker, speaks during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • Iraqi lawmakers attend a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar al-Khairallah, right, welcomes French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius upon his arrival to Baghdad's airport in Baghdad, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • U.S. Army parachute riggers with the 11th Quartermaster Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, palletize halal meals for a humanitarian airdrop over Iraq at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in this Aug. 7 p
  • Pope Francis urged the international community to find a solution to the problems in Iraq on Sunday. Here, he delivers his blessing during the Angelus noon prayer he celebrated from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Aug. 10, 2014.
  • This Aug. 9, 2014, photo shows President Barack Obama as he speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, about the ongoing situation in Iraq.
Developments in Iraq - Sunday, August 10
VOA News

The United States carried out a new round of airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq on Sunday.

The Pentagon said fighter jets and drone aircraft destroyed an armed truck that was firing on Kurdish forces near Irbil, and then followed up with four more attacks on other armed trucks and a mortar position.

It was the fourth set of U.S. airstrikes since President Barack Obama last week authorized the country's first campaign in Iraq since he withdrew all U.S. forces at the end of 2011 after nearly a decade of American involvement.

U.S. forces are attempting to blunt an offensive by the extremist Islamic State group that threatens to overrun Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. U.S. and British aircraft also are supplying humanitarian aid for thousands of displaced Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped in the area.

Late Sunday, the U.S. State Department said it has temporarily removed some staff from the U.S. consulate in Irbil.

A statement said some of the personnel were dispatched to the southern city of Basra, and others to the Jordanian capital, Amman. It said the move was made "out of an abundance of caution rather than any one specific threat."

Watch related video by VOA's Michael Bowman:

US Engagement in Iraq Continuesi
Michael Bowman
August 10, 2014 9:33 PM
Western engagement continues to intensify in Iraq, where the United States and Britain are delivering humanitarian supplies while U.S. air strikes target radical Sunni militants. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.

Concern over militants' brutality

​Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani told Reuters that Islamic State militants executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing the town of Sinjar, and that some of the victims had been buried alive.

The U.S. military made three airdrops with more than 52,000 meals and thousands of liters of fresh drinking water for the displaced people on Mount Sinjar.  British forces made their first humanitarian airdrop to the region on Sunday and France said it would supply "several tons" of aid.

Obama said Saturday the U.S. military's airstrikes in Iraq have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that Islamic State militants could have used against Irbil.  He said the problem posed by the group will not be solved in weeks and is going to take some time.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is "deeply concerned" about the evolving humanitarian and security situation in Iraq.  The U.N. chief called for "reason and wisdom to prevail."  He urged all Iraqi leaders "to form a broad-based government that is acceptable to all components of Iraqi society."  

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the international community to find a solution to the problems in Iraq, where he said the situation leaves him in disbelief.

French FM visit

On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Iraq for talks in Baghdad and Irbil. He urged Iraqi leaders to form a broad-based unity government.

At a press conference with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan he said that Islamic State militants were extremists who cannot accept those with different beliefs

He said that people are suffering because the Islamic State group, which he called the “Caliphate of Hate,” wants to kill or enslave all those who do not believe as they do.

For his part, Barzani thanked the U.S. and France for their assistance and indicated the Kurds were not demanding that their allies “fight for them,“ but help by giving “needed weaponry” and “air support” to the Peshmerga fighters to defend themselves.

The International Organization for Migration says the number of internally displaced people in Iraq now totals more than 1 million.

Islamic State extremists, most of whom are Sunni Muslims, have captured significant amounts of military hardware that U.S. troops turned over to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters before the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011.

The Islamic State group, known for particularly brutal tactics, currently controls a large swath of eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq.  It has declared the area a "caliphate," and is actively recruiting other fighters to join the group.

On the ground

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga say they have regained control of a district near Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Talking to VOA's Kurdish Service Sunday, a Peshmerga fighter said his forces repelled an attack on Makhmur district from fighters of the Islamic State group.

Saber Ismael said that there were no more gunshots inside Makhmour city and that the Daesh, as Kurds refer to Islamic State militants, have fled.

He said local people now feel safe from an immediate threat by the radical group of Sunni fighters that have taken control of several areas of Iraq.

Speaking from Duhok, another town in the Kurdish region of Iraq, a VOA stringer said U.S. air strikes against Islamic State fighters are proving effective.

“People in the area are relieved and highly motivated because they now see that Peshmerga fighters are now being backed up by U.S. air strikes against the militants of Islamic State fighters,” said VOA Kurdish Service stringer Salam Balayi.

Edward Yerenian contributed to this report from Cairo, Kokab Farshori contributed from Washington. Some information provided by Reuters and AP.

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Comment Sorting
by: Gene from: CA
August 10, 2014 8:54 PM
Come on Barack, attack at least 500 of their positions everyday to slow them down. Tossing a few pebbles will do nothing.

by: Orphaned socks from: Delafield WI
August 10, 2014 8:45 PM
The fruit of reptilian-brained militant Islam perverters. No compassion there; how uncool.

by: Katy Kody from: USA
August 10, 2014 7:23 PM
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 11, 2014 3:59 AM
what we do with ISIS ? WE have to stop them . bombing them is appropriate otherwise innocent people will be killed. you should understand the reasons of bombing Isis. You have to understand that the idea of Jihadist and the jihadist can below themselves. The poverty ,ignorance and radical teaching of Islam have created people motivated by haltered and revenge . these jihadist has no respect of Human being and we have to use any means necessary to eliminate that jihadist. they went to Afghanistan and cause the country to fell apart. They went to Russia to fight with Chechen . in fact Russia do get great job and give them lesson . they went former Yugoslavia . now in Syria and Iraq. they have to get lesson such as Russian was given to Chechen .

by: Melvin Itchlick from: USA
August 10, 2014 6:48 PM
Before jetting off for two weeks’ vacation, President Obama laid the blame for the Iraq crisis at the doorstep of the Bush administration.

At a brief press conference Saturday on the White House lawn, Obama scoffed at the notion that he might regret not having left a residual American force in Iraq.

“Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign democratic Iraqi government,” Obama said. “In order for us to leave troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government, … and the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances.”

Calling it “bogus and wrong” to override the wishes of a sovereign government, Obama failed to take responsibility for his failed leadership, infuriating a host of listeners, and refusing to mention the FACT that the CIA funds ISIS.

The so-called "war on terror" is a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!

by: jackson from: abuja
August 10, 2014 6:28 PM
One don't know what the Islamist really want in this world again. If they want people to join they their faith, must they use force? There is no way I can join a religion that is identified with brutality. Why don't they go out and evengerlize or try to convince people in a way to follow them. These people are Animals. Hw can human bury his fellow alive? It is a sign of the end time. It is a pity indeed

by: Anonymous
August 10, 2014 4:10 PM
Bh in Nigeria, Alshabab in somalia, Isis in iraq, hamas, sudan, mali rebels.The question is if islam is peace , love, tolerance, peaceful co existence, why are there wars, terror all over the world which is related to islam? When moslems are in minority they pretend to preach peaceful co- existence with others, wait when their numbers swell, they will use violence, suicide bombings,jihad,sharia law. Let no body be fooled.Islam is a questionable religion
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 11, 2014 4:12 AM
I agree with you completely. please tell your understanding to liberal organization and politician in USA and Europe whom close their eyes about using Facebook and internet to spread hate message which created many conflict. tell the Us politician to watch the radical Muslim in Arab community which they are playing double standard .they are acting as a law abiding citizen but in secret ,they recruit and give money to jihadist whom spreading the terror on innocent people

by: specialpurpose from: USA
August 10, 2014 3:18 PM
By their fruit you shall know them.

What is the fruit of Islam?
In Response

by: Mike Stand
August 10, 2014 9:04 PM
Evil. True evil.
In Response

by: arosebyanyothername from: USA
August 10, 2014 9:02 PM
Hateful, murderous ideologues inhabit the extremes of every ideology, and are hardly the sole purview of Islam. There are plenty who sew evil while calling themselves Christian too.
In Response

by: john wilkes booth from: united states
August 10, 2014 8:45 PM
all isis is pure wild animals nothing, human about nothing but hate.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
August 10, 2014 4:15 PM
60,years ago , our Arabic language ask us the children to memorize a portion of Quran . At that portion stated (you have to prepare horses and other types of forces to frighten your enemy of God and your enemy) .then the Arabic teacher explain who is The enemy Of God And the enemy of Muslim. . He identified the enemy of god and your enemy as Christian and Jew. From his opinion that killing christen and Jew is permissible to God . This is a true story and I Was in elementary school in one Country in Arab world . With the same manner ,ISIs applied the killing of Yazadi and Christian . Is that a message of hate . I believe it is the message of barberism
In Response

by: safado from: ca.
August 10, 2014 3:31 PM
In this case Hatred.

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