Iraqi Kurdish fighters backed by US warplanes have retaken the country’s largest dam from jihadists, Kurdish officials said, as the United States and Britain step up their military involvement.
The recapture of Mosul dam marks the biggest prize yet clawed back from Islamic State (IS) jihadists since they launched a major offensive in northern Iraq in early June, sweeping Iraqi security forces aside.
IS militants, who have declared a “caliphate” straddling vast areas of Iraq and Syria, also came under air attack in their Syrian stronghold of Raqa yesterday, a monitoring group said.
- Varun Gandhi Under Attack Over Defence Deals: Here’s How
- This Diwali, Let Blind Students Brighten Up your Homes With Candles & Diyas
- CBI Files Supplementary Chargesheet In Sheena Bora Murder Case
- Soha Ali Khan And Vir Das Starrer 31st October Audience Reaction
- Sahara Chief Subrata Roy’s Parole Extended Till November 28
- Simple Tips To Secure Your Debit Card From Fraudsters
- New Zealand & India Team Being Welcomed In Chandigarh
- Mumbai Call Centre Scam: All You Need To Know
- Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Appeals To Police: Here’s What She Said
- Shocker From Ahmedabad: Find Out What Happened
- Bigg Boss 10 Day 3 Review: Celebs Fail To Do Well in First Task
- Airtel Offers 10GB Data At Rs 259 For New 4G Smartphone Users
- Aamir Khan Starrer Dangal’s Trailer Launched: First Impressions
- TMC Supporters Attack BJP Leader Babul Supriyo
- Sri Lankan Navy Apprehends 20 Indian Fishermen
US President Barack Obama told Congress that the “limited” airstrikes he has authorized on Iraq to retake its largest dam from militants protected US interests there.
The strikes have been conducted since Friday at the request of the Iraqi government, according to US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
Highlighting the stakes at hand, Obama said: “The failure of the Mosul dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger US personnel and facilities, including the US Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron described the Islamic State fighters sweeping across Syria and Iraq as a direct threat to Britain, and said all available tools most be used to halt their advance.
Cameron, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, said that while it would not be right to send an army into Iraq, some degree of military involvement was justified due to the threat that an expanding “terrorist state” would pose to Europe and its allies.
His Defence Minister Michael Fallon, in comments published today, said Britain’s Iraq involvement now goes beyond a humanitarian mission and is set to last for months.
“We and other countries in Europe are determined to help the government of Iraq combat this new and very extreme form of terrorism,” he was quoted as saying.
The Times reported that six British Tornado jets and a spy plane had begun flying beyond the Kurdish region to provide information on jihadists’ movements that could be used in planning Iraqi military attacks in a “development that brings Britain closer to a direct combat role”.
Two months of violence have brought Iraq to the brink of breakup, and world powers relieved by the exit of divisive premier Nuri al-Maliki are sending aid to the hundreds of thousands who have fled their homes as well as arms to the Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Buoyed by the US air strikes. Kurdish forces are fighting to win back ground they had lost since the start of August, when the jihadists went back on the offensive north, east and west of the city of Mosul, capturing the dam on August 7.
“Mosul Dam was liberated completely,” Ali Awni, an official from Iraq’s main Kurdish party, told AFP.