U.S. military aircraft carried out airstrikes on Islamist militants besieging Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The airstrikes targeted artillery being used by militants of the Islamic State extremist group against Kurdish forces defending Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital, the Pentagon said. It said the artillery was used "near U.S. personnel."
The U.S. action came after President Obama authorized airstrikes against Sunni Muslim extremists who punctured Kurdish defenses in a powerful offensive in northern Iraq on Thursday. Obama also sent U.S. military aircraft to drop food and water to besieged Iraqi civilians in the region.