Topics: Barack Obama

VIDEO: U.S. launches first airstrike in Iraq

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Barack Obama,Iraq,Terrorism,Video,Buck McKeon,Ed Sykes,ISIS

The United States began a series of targeted airstrikes Friday in Iraq.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby confirmed the news on Twitter Friday, saying artillery was used to protect U.S. personnel near the city of Erbil.

It comes just hours after the Obama administration authorized airstrikes Thursday night to protect American forces and prevent the potential genocide of a group of Iraqi civilians currently under siege from Islamist militants.

"There is no decision I take more seriously than the use of military force," President Obama said Thursday. "But when the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action. That's my responsibility as commander in chief. And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action."

In a statement following the announcement Thursday night, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., called the president's decision "appropriate given the circumstances." McKeon also criticized the president for not acting earlier, saying, "It is regrettable that ISIS' rise was preventable, but we must now look forward to the task ahead."

The president has authorized the military to take further action if necessary, but senior administration officials say the broader strategy centers around strengthening the response of Iraqi security forces.

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Ed Sykes

Video Journalist
The Washington Examiner

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