Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hold their position on the top of Mount Zardak, a strategic point about 25 kilometres east of Mosul on September 9, 2014
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hold their position on the top of Mount Zardak, a strategic point about 25 kilometres east of Mosul on September 9, 2014 © JM Lopez - AFP
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters hold their position on the top of Mount Zardak,  a strategic point about 25  kilometres east of Mosul on September 9, 2014
AFP
Last updated: September 9, 2014

US bombs IS in Iraq as Obama looks to present strategy

US warplanes carried out more airstrikes against jihadists in western Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday, as President Barack Obama prepared to present his plan to defeat the Sunni extremists.

American fighter jets, attack and drone aircraft conducted five bombing raids on Monday and Tuesday near the massive Haditha Dam in Anbar province, said the US Central Command, which oversees forces in the region.

The US military said the strikes were in "support of Iraqi Security Forces and Sunni tribes protecting the Haditha Dam" against militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The bombing "destroyed or damaged" eight IS armed vehicles, including two that were "transporting anti-aircraft artillery," five other vehicles and one transport vehicle, Central Command said.

All US aircraft left the area safely after the air raid, it added.

The operation brought the total number of US airstrikes carried out in Iraq since August 8 to 153, officials said.

US aircraft went after IS forces near Haditha for the first time over the weekend, seeking to push back the militants who have tried to seize the dam, which produces electricity and controls irrigation along the Euphrates River.

The latest air attacks came as Obama was poised to deliver a major speech on Wednesday to rally public support and lay out his strategy to defeat the jihadists who have seized a large chunk of territory in Syria and Iraq in recent months.

The White House has not revealed details of Obama's war plans but there is widespread speculation the effort will see an expansion of the air raids in Iraq, including a possible role for European warplanes, as well as potential strikes in Syria.

But officials have insisted the president will not deploy combat troops on the ground.

The speech is scheduled on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which prompted a US invasion of Afghanistan and a global campaign against the Al-Qaeda extremists who carried out the assault on New York and Washington.

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