BAGHDAD, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. air force has started on Friday airstrikes against Iraqi Sunni extremist targets in northern Iraq, Kuridsh security and Pentagon sources said.
"U.S. warplanes carried out first airstrikes on Friday on artillery positions belonging to the Islamic State organization in the areas under control by the extremist militant which are located near Arbil provincial border with Nineveh," the source anonymously told Xinhua without giving further details.
"U.S. military aircraft conduct strike on ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Arbil, near U.S. personnel," U.S. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby wrote on Twitter.
The air strikes came after artillery fire near U.S. personnel, the Pentagon said Friday.
U.S. President Barack Obama authorized on Thursday these air raids in a bid to protect Christians, and prevent "genocide" of tens of thousands of members of an ancient sect sheltering on a desert mountaintop from the so-called Islamic State militants threatening to exterminate them.