Watch: US Air Strikes Pound Islamic State in Iraq
Footage has surfaced of the US airstrikes on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Iraq, which began last Friday.
In the video from the cockpit view, information being relayed about the targets can heard as the pilot is told to avoid a mosque the terrorists are gathering around, and then is given clearance to engage them.
The strike hits a moving vehicle, setting off a dramatic explosion that ignites other blasts, apparently from nearby munitions. The attack continues as the pilot rains down blows on fleeing vehicles and terrorists.
Assessing the operation, US Joint staff operations director Lieut. Gen. William Mayville said "these airstrikes have helped check the advance of missile forces around Mount Sinjar and in the area west of Irbil." Irbil is the capital of the Kurdish Regional Government, which has come under IS attack.
"US airstrikes are also providing the Kurdish security forces with time to fortify their defensive positions with the supplies they are receiving from the central government of Baghdad," added Mayville. "We assess that US airstrikes in northern Iraq have slowed IS operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Irbil."
However, the general added that "these strikes are unlikely to affect IS's overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria."
US President Barack Obama last week authorized "limited airstrikes" following threats of an impending genocide committed by IS against the local Yazidi people.
Even as Obama gave the go-ahead for airstrikes, he rushed to clarify that "as Commander in Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq."