16 Sep 2014

US carries out airstrikes in Iraq

3:36 pm on 16 September 2014

The United States has carried out airstrikes in Iraq in support of troops who were being attacked by Islamic State (IS) fighters.

The US military says the attacks took place near Mount Sinjar and south-west of Baghdad.

They were the first strikes as part of expanded efforts outlined by President Barack Obama last week.

The US military statement said that the airstrike south-west of Baghdad was the first taken as part of "expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit [IS] targets" as Iraqi forces go on the offensive.

Meanwhile Iraq has criticised the decision not to invite Iran to an international summit on the IS threat.

Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the decision was "regrettable".

The BBC reports that 30 countries pledged to join a US-led coalition against IS in Paris.

The militant group, which originated in Syria, has swept through parts of western and northern Iraq in recent months and now controls large areas of both countries.

It said that the strikes were in support of the troops, adding that six IS vehicles were destroyed near Sinjar, and a militant fighting position south-west of Baghdad.

The statement said that all aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

The US has conducted a total of 162 airstrikes across Iraq since August.

Officials say the latest strikes reflect the recent decision by President Obama to attack IS positions wherever they are.