US conducts additional airstrikes to help Kurdish fighters recapture Mosul Dam

17 August 2014 (Last Updated August 17th, 2014 18:30)

The US fighter and attack aircraft have conducted additional airstrikes in Iraq to help Kurdish forces regain control of Mosul Dam from Islamic State (IS) militants.

US fighter and attack aircraft have conducted additional airstrikes in Iraq to help Kurdish forces regain control of Mosul Dam from Islamic State (IS) militants.

The US Department of Defense said in a statement that the targeted strikes destroyed three IS armed vehicles, a vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft artillery gun, an IS checkpoint and an improvised explosive device emplacement.

In a letter to Congress, US President Barack Obama said: "These military operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to support the Iraqi forces in their efforts to retake and establish control of this critical infrastructure site, as part of their ongoing campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"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."

Meanwhile, Kurdish forces are close to assuming authority of the dam after ousting IS militants, BBC News reported citing Kurdish officials.

The officials said that the process of clearing mines and booby traps from the area around the dam, which is essential before the dam is declared fully secure, is underway and could last for several hours.

"Kurdish forces are close to assuming authority of the dam after ousting IS militants."

Formerly known as Saddam Dam, Mosul Dam is a strategically important facility that supplies water and electricity to northern Iraq, and was captured by the IS insurgents on 7 August.

An unnamed Peshmerga officer told AP news agency: "It is very important for the life in this area, for drinking water, for agriculture and other things.

"The other important thing, which is more important, is that if ISIS [IS] blows up this dam, then Mosul, Baghdad and other places will be damaged and will no longer exist."

Apart from Mosul, the US military also conducted targeted airstrikes on IS militants in Sinjar as part of its efforts to safeguard US personnel and facilities, and support the ongoing humanitarian efforts in the country.

Since June, IS militants have seized several towns in northern Iraq forcing minorities, including thousands of Yazidi community residents, to flee their homes and seek refuge in shelters.

Defence Technology