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Expanding Mission In Iraq, U.S. Strikes Fighters South Of Baghdad

With air strikes on the Islamic State south of Baghdad, the United States officially expanded its mission in Iraq on Sunday and Monday.

According to Central Command, Iraqi Security Forces requested the airstrikes near Sinjar.

"The airstrike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense, as outlined in the President's speech last Wednesday," Central Command said in a press release.

The military added that the strikes destroyed six Islamic State vehicles and a "fighting position southwest of Baghdad that was firing on ISF personnel."

In an August interview with The New York Times, President Obama vowed that "the United States had no intention of 'being the Iraqi air force.'"

But, then in a prime-time speech to the American public, Obama announced a broader mission against the Islamic State, saying the United States ultimately wanted to "destroy" the Sunni militant group.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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