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Barack Obama has authorised airstrikes over Iraq in order to prevent “genocide” from being carried out by Islamic State jihadists. The US president confirmed in a late-night address that US military planes had already dropped aid to the 40,000 Yazidi religious minority, who have been trapped for days on Mount Sinjar, in the Kurdish northern region, after being driven out of their homes by Islamic State fighters. In a move which would see the US return to a military role in the country’s long sectarian war, Mr Obama announced in a televised statement from the White House that he would approve targeted strikes on the fighters–should they advance south towards the city of Erbil. However, Downing Street said there will be no UK military action in Iraq. A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “We welcome the action taken by the United States overnight to provide vital supplies to those Iraqis in desperate need, who are fleeing from ISIL–Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria– terrorists.”

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