US officials: New round of airstrikes near Irbil

U.S. troops file photo
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American officials say the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes against Islamic State targets near Irbil on Friday, using drones and fighter jets.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the strikes by name, say unmanned aircraft struck a mortar near Irbil and four Navy F/A-18 fighter jets struck a seven-vehicle convoy outside Irbil. The jets flew off the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier.

The Friday afternoon strikes followed a morning strike on an Islamic State artillery gun that was firing on Kurdish troops near U.S. personnel. President Barack Obama said late Thursday that the U.S. would launch airstrikes on the militant group that was threatening American military trainers in the northeastern Iraq city.

The officials say the convoy was destroyed.

"Top priority for the United States is the security of our people," said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser. "We have people in Irbil and if we can advance, we are going to hit it."
 
The strikes knocked out artillery militants were were using to shell Kurdish forces in Irbil and close to the U.S. Consulate there. President Barack Obama promised Thursday military action would be taken if the Islamic militants were a threat to Americans.
 
"When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action," Obama said. "That's my job as commander in chief."
 
Late this morning, Obama made a call to Jordan's King Abdullah, along with National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, likely discussing the unrest in the region.
 
But as ISIS militants take control of dozens of Iraqi cities and towns, some experts question whether the U.S. has a real military plan.
 
"This is not decisive use of military power, we are not on the ground in the area, and I don't think we know what we are doing," said Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a retired NBC News military analyst.
 
There's no word yet on how many ISIS militants may have died in Friday's air strikes.