The US military confirms it conducted nine airstrikes Saturday near Arbil and Iraq’s largest dam in an effort to help Kurdish forces retake it from violent extremists.
US Central Command says fighter jets and drones destroyed or damaged four armored personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armored vehicle.
CENTCOM “conducted these strikes under authority to support humanitarian efforts in Iraq, as well as to protect US personnel and facilities,” it adds.
“All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.”
Kurdish forces attacked the Islamic State (IS) fighters who wrested the Mosul dam from them a week earlier, a general tells AFP.
“Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam” complex, Major General Abdulrahman Korini tells AFP, saying several militants had been killed.
Buoyed by the air strikes US President Barack Obama ordered last week, the peshmerga fighters have tried to claw back the ground they lost since the start of August.
The dam on the Tigris provides electricity to much of the region and is crucial to irrigation in vast farming areas in Nineveh province.
The recapture of Mosul dam would be one of the most significant achievements in a fightback that is also getting international material support.
The strikes took place just a day after IS militants carried out a “massacre” of dozens of villagers.