US launches second round of airstrikes, FAA prohibits flights over Iraq

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The Pentagon confirmed the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq near Irbil, as well as sending humanitarian aid for trapped Yizidis. (WLS)

The U.S. military launched a second round of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists Friday afternoon.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. military conducted two additional air strikes near Irbil to help defend the city where U.S. personnel are stationed.

Kirby said that Friday morning a remotely piloted aircraft struck a terrorist mortar position and, when ISIL fighters returned to the site shortly thereafter, they were struck again and eliminated. Later Friday afternoon, Kirby said, four F/A-18 aircraft struck a seven-vehicle convoy and a mortar position outside Irbil. The aircraft conducted two planned passes, dropped a total of eight bombs on targets, and neutralized the mortar and the convoy.

Many of America's allies backed the U.S. intervention, pledging urgent steps to assist the legions of refugees and displaced people. Those in jeopardy included thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority whose plight - trapped on a mountaintop by the militants - prompted the U.S. to airdrop crates of food and water to them.

The extremists' "campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. "For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it."

As a result of the military activity, the Federal Aviation Administration has restricted U.S. operators from flying over Iraq due to the conflict, the agency announced in a statement.

President Barack Obama authorized such airstrikes Thursday when the Islamic state militant group advanced on Irbil, in northeaster Iraq, where U.S. military trainers are stationed.

Kirby says ISIL was using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Irbil where U.S. personnel are located, Kirby said.

"The decision to strike was made by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief," Kirby said. "As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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