WASHINGTON — The US military launched new strikes on Islamic State forces in Iraq, using fighter and attack aircraft to carry out strikes near the Mosul dam and Amerli, the Pentagon said on Sunday.
“The strike near Amerli damaged an ISIL tank and the strike near Mosul Dam destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle. All aircraft exited the strike area safely,” a US Defense Department statement said, referring to the IS forces also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The strikes were conducted under authority to protect US personnel and facilities, support humanitarian efforts, and support Iraqi forces that are acting in furtherance of these objectives,” added the statement put out by US Central Command, based in Tampa, Florida.
The statement said that US Central Command so far has conducted a total of 120 air strikes across Iraq.
The United States last week also used aircraft and drones to strike targets in northern Iraq to try to rein in Islamic State militants, who have seized a large swath of territory in the region.
Iraq is struggling to regain significant parts of the country after a lightning militant offensive led by the IS seized second city Mosul in June and swept through the country’s Sunni heartland, as security forces fled.
Iraq’s military, aided by US airstrikes, on Sunday broke the jihadists’ siege of the Shiite town of Amerli, where thousands had been trapped for more than two months.
Amerli residents, who faced major shortages of food and water, were also in danger because of their Shiite faith.