The United States launched airstrikes in Iraq on Monday in what defense officials said is the start of an expanded action against Islamic State extremists.
The U.S. military's Central Command said both fighter and attack aircraft conducted separate airstrikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi forces southwest of Baghdad and near Sinjar, Iraq.
The strikes were described as the first to provide direct aid for Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic militant group, as previous actions were conducted to protect U.S. personnel and interests. Iraqi forces requested assistance when they came under fire from militants.
President Obama last week announced that a broader campaign would seek to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State group, which sometimes is referred to by the acronym ISIL or ISIS.
In total, the strikes destroyed six vehicles near Sinjar and an ISIL fighting position southwest of Baghdad that was firing on Iraqi personnel, the military said in a statement. All U.S. aircraft exited the strike areas safely.