US launches airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) - Iraqis are welcoming the U.S. airlift of emergency aid to thousands of people who fled to the mountains to escape Islamic extremists.

And now, for the first time, U.S. forces are directly targeting the extremist Islamic State group, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon says U.S. fighter jets bombed a piece of artillery after it fired near U.S. personnel outside the city of Irbil.

The Pentagon says the militants were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending the city. A spokesman says it's not clear how many militants may have been killed in the strike.

In announcing approval of the new U.S. airstrikes last night, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged religious minorities in northern Iraq, President Barack Obama vowed again not to put U.S. combat troops back on the ground in Iraq.