The Slatest

U.S. Launches First Airstrikes Against ISIS

A Kurdish peshmerga soldier.

Photo by Reuters

The U.S. has launched airstrikes against ISIS militants in northern Iraq, the Pentagon says. From the New York Times:

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said that two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, Admiral Kirby said in a statement.

President Obama announced Thursday night that he had authorized air attacks to defend U.S. personnel in the city of Erbil and help protect tens of thousands of stranded refugees. The United States hopes its strikes will support the work of Kurdish troops defending the area; as Joshua Keating wrote Thursday in Slate, sudden ISIS advances against the Kurds have created a security and humanitarian crisis.