WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. military forces on Monday continued to attack forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), using a mix of fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct 15 airstrikes near the Mosul Dam in north Iraq, the U.S. Central Command said.
"The strikes damaged or destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions; an ISIL checkpoint; six ISIL armed vehicles; an ISIL light armored vehicle; an ISIL vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft artillery gun, and an IED emplacement belt," it said in a statement.
Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 68 airstrikes in Iraq. Of those 68 strikes, 35 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam, it said.
These strikes were conducted under authority to support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense forces as they work together to combat ISIL, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts, it added.
President Barack Obama on Sunday notified Congress that he authorized the targeted strikes near Mosul Dam on Thursday to support Iraqi forces in their effort to recapture the dam, Iraq's largest.
"The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace, " he said in a letter to congressional leaders.
He said the operations that started on Friday would be "limited in their scope and duration."
Obama first authorized limited airstrikes on ISIL targets on Aug. 7, as the group seized more cities and towns in its advance on Erbil, capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, and trapped many civilians including the minority Yazidis on Mount Sinjar.