The US has dropped relief supplies to thousands of Iraqis hiding in a mountainous area from Islamist militants who had ordered them to convert or die.
The move comes as the United States carried out fresh attacks on fighters from the Islamic State, who have advanced within a half an hour of Irbil, Iraq’s Kurdish capital. The city is a hub for US oil companies.
The Sunni militants, who also control a third of neighbouring Syria, have taken control of several cities as well as the country’s largest dam.
It’s been reported that the Iraqi government has provided arms to Kurdish fighters in an unprecedented act of cooperation between Baghdad and Arbil.
“This is not a classical war. This is not a frontal war with a regular army. They are attacking with small numbers, with mobile forces, with speed. They are not holding territory,” said Hoshiar Mahmoud al-Zibari, Iraq’s Foreign Minister.
The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, have reportedly said the US strikes would have “no impact” on them.
The group led by led by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, have used savage violence during their advancement through Iraq, beheading and crucifying captives in their mission to eradicate the country of unbelievers.
The United States has said the strikes, the first in Iraq since 2011, would last as long as the security situation required.