OBAMA ON IRAQ: 'Today America Is Coming To Help'
President Obama confirmed Thursday evening in a statement from the White House that the U.S. military had air-dropped humanitarian aid to civilians stranded in Iraq and he had authorized targeted military strikes if U.S. personnel become threatened by ISIS militants.
The president did not confirm whether earlier reports of U.S. air strikes were accurate, but he did say he authorized targeted air strikes to protect U.S. personnel in the future, and directed the military to provide humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians. Obama said American air power would only strike if militants move closer to the town of Erbil, where U.S. personnel is currently stationed.
"At the request of the Iraqi government, we've begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the ground," Obama said, referring to the religious sect which has been cut off on top of a mountain to escape ISIS militants.
ABC and CNN previously reported the U.S. has begun humanitarian airdrops in the Sinjar area to the Yazidi religious sect. The trapped civilians were facing a near-impossible choice: Come down the mountain and risk being killed by ISIS militants, or stay and hope aid comes their way.
"The United States cannot turn a blind eye. We can act," Obama said. "Today America is coming to help."
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