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US: Airstrikes Worked, Iraqi Rescue Not Needed

Military advisers find 'far fewer' Yazidis on mountain than expected
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2014 5:51 PM CDT
Updated Aug 14, 2014 12:34 AM CDT
US Military Team Arrives on Iraqi Mountain
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community look for clothes to wear among items provided by a charity organization at the Nowruz camp, in Derike, Syria, Tuesday.   (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

(Newser) – It looks like the US won't have to launch a mass evacuation of Iraqis trapped on a mountain after all. A small team of American military personnel who spent 24 hours on Mount Sinjar said US airstrikes seem to have done the trick—most of the trapped Yazidis who wanted to flee to safety have done so, reports the New York Times. As a result, defense chief Chuck Hagel said a rescue mission is "far less likely now," reports the AP.

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Exact numbers weren't available, but CNN quotes a Pentagon spokesman as saying that "far fewer" Yazidis were on the mountain than expected. He estimated "several thousand" but said many wanted to stay there because their homes are nearby. Earlier, the US deployed 130 troops to Iraq, and President Obama said he would be willing to use those troops as part of a rescue mission. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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