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US expands air strikes to Iraq Sunni Arab heartland

US Air Force personnel walk to their aircraft for an in-air refueling mission over Iraq, on August 11, 2014Washington said Sunday it had carried out air strikes against jihadists in Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland, expanding its month-long air campaign and its involvement in the conflict. It was a significant escalation for President Barack Obama, who made his political career opposing the war in Iraq and pulled out US troops in 2011. Previous strikes since Obama launched the US air campaign on August 8 had been mainly in support of Kurdish forces in the north. US warplanes bombed Islamic State (IS) jihadists around a strategic dam on the Euphrates River in an area that the jihadists have repeatedly tried to capture from government troops and their Sunni militia allies.

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