Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position on the front line in Makhmur, about 280 kilometers north of Baghdad, during clashes with Islamic State militants on August 9, 2014. (AFP/Safin Hamed)
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President Barack Obama justified the U.S. military's return to fighting in Iraq Saturday by saying America must act now to prevent genocide, protect its diplomats and provide humanitarian aid to refugees trapped by Islamic State militants on a mountain ridge near the Syrian border.U.S. planes and drones launched four airstrikes on Islamic State forces Saturday as they fired indiscriminately on Yazidi civilians taking shelter in the Sinjar mountains, U.S. Central Command said.It was the third round of airstrikes against Islamic State forces by the U.S. military since they were authorized by Obama on Thursday.The U.S. military officially withdrew its combat forces in late 2011 after more than eight years of war. It returned to battle Friday when two F/A-18 jets dropped 500-pound (225-kilogram) bombs on Islamic State fighters advancing on the Kurdish capital of Irbil as violence sent the number of displaced Iraqis soaring. Obama was adamant Saturday that that U.S. troops can't bring peace to Iraq.The Pentagon said the militants were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Irbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, home to a U.S. consulate and about three dozen U.S. military trainers.
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