UK & World News
US Planes Bomb Jihadists As Food Aid Dropped
US warplanes have bombed Islamist fighters in northern Iraq for a second time - as 30,000 meals were dropped for refugees.
Aircraft launched a second round of strikes on Islamic State (IS) - previously known as ISIS or ISIL - targets in northern Iraq after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent "genocide".
In his weekly address on Saturday, Mr Obama vowed to continue the action against the jihadist group if necessary.
He stressed US combat troops would not be "dragged into fighting another war in Iraq", but added the US "can't just look away".
"We will protect our citizens. We will work with the international community to address this humanitarian crisis. We'll help prevent these terrorists from having a permanent safe haven from which to attack America," he said.
Islamic State fighters, who have beheaded and crucified captives, have advanced to within a half an hour of Irbil, Iraq's Kurdish capital and a hub for US oil companies.
They have also seized control of Iraq's biggest dam, which could allow them to flood cities and cut off vital water and electricity supplies.
Iraq's government says hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive by fighters for IS.
The Pentagon said two F/A-18 aircraft from a carrier in the Gulf had dropped laser-guided 500-pound bombs on the fighters' artillery.
Other airstrikes targeted mortar positions and an Islamic State convoy.
For the second night, the US also dropped relief supplies to members of the ancient Yazidi sect.
Tens of thousands of them are massed on a desert mountaintop seeking shelter from fighters who have ordered them to convert or die.
Three cargo planes escorted by the F/A-18 combat jets dropped the supplies - including 72 bundles, which contained 28,224 individually packaged meals. Another 16 bundles contained 1,522 gallons of fresh drinking water.
"The Iraqi men, women and children who fled to that mountain were starving and dying of thirst. The food and water we airdropped will help them survive," said Mr Obama.
"I've also approved targeted American airstrikes to help Iraqi forces break the siege and rescue these families."
Mr Obama has authorised the first US airstrikes on Iraq since he pulled all troops out in 2011.
The action is aimed at halting the Islamist advance, protecting hundreds of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities who have fled for their lives.
Two British cargo planes are also on their way to Iraq to drop supplies including tents, blankets, food, water and solar lanterns - which also charge mobile phones.
UK ministers are discussing the situation in Iraq at a Cobra meeting chaired by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
In the hours after the airstrikes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned all US civilian flights over Iraq.
British Airways also decided to stop flying over the war-torn region.
Other international airlines including Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have halted their flights to Irbil until Monday.