U.S. launches more airstrikes in Iraq

BY Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns, Associated Press  August 8, 2014 at 5:26 PM EST

WASHINGTON — The U.S. launched two more airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq on Friday, hitting a vehicle convoy and two mortar positions, the Pentagon said.

The attacks near the city of Irbil were carried out by armed drones and Navy fighter jets, said the Defense Department’s press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.

The drone struck a mortar position, and when Islamic State fighters returned to the site moments later they were attacked again and killed, Kirby said.

Separately, four Navy F/A-18 fighter jets struck a stationary convoy of seven vehicles and a mortar position outside Irbil, he said. The jets flew off the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier and dropped a total of eight laser-guided bombs.

The Friday strikes followed an air attack earlier in the day on an Islamic State artillery gun that was firing on Kurdish troops near U.S. personnel, officials said. 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.