Obama authorizes airstrikes in Iraq

President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he's authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the city of Erbil.
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Obama says he's authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the city of Erbil. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says he’s authorized the U.S. military to carry out airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic militants if they advance toward the critical city of Irbil. The U.S. has a consulate and a military operations center there.

Obama, speaking from the White House, says the U.S. military has already started dropping food, water and supplies to thousands members of a religious minority trapped on a mountain top by the Sunni extremist group Islamic State.

Obama said the U.S. can’t turn a blind eye to potential genocide. But he also said that the U.S. will not send combat forces into Iraq.

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