US Strikes Iraq With Land-Based Bombers

President Obama updates Congress with a letter

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 17, 2014 5:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – The US has expanded its air campaign in Iraq with attacks aimed at helping Iraqi forces regain control of the strategic Mosul dam. The White House said President Obama notified Congress today that the widened mission would be limited in duration and scope. The administration's letter to Congress said "the mission is consistent with the president's directive that the US military protect US personnel and facilities in Iraq, since the failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians and threaten US personnel and facilities—including the US Embassy in Baghdad." It also noted that the failure of the dam could "prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services" to the Iraqi people.

The letter said: "I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution." White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the operations are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq. The latest round of US airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group includes the first reported use of land-based bombers in the military campaign. Kurdish security officials say Kurdish forces, aided by US and Iraqi airstrikes, have now taken over parts of the dam. Militants had captured control of the dam less than two weeks ago. The US military says US forces conducted nine strikes yesterday and another 16 today. The second round of strikes damaged or destroyed 10 armed vehicles, seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers, and one checkpoint, the US said.

A Kurdish peshmerga fighter prepares his weapon at his combat position near the Mosul Dam at the town of Chamibarakat outside Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug 17, 2014.
A Kurdish peshmerga fighter prepares his weapon at his combat position near the Mosul Dam at the town of Chamibarakat outside Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, stand guard near Mosul Dam at the town of Chamibarakat outside Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.
Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, stand guard near Mosul Dam at the town of Chamibarakat outside Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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