MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in order to help Iraq to recapture the country's largest dam, located in the northern city of Mosul, Reuters reported late on Sunday.
"The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten US personnel and facilities - including the US Embassy in Baghdad … These operations are limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq," the White House said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.
IS insurgents seized the Mosul dam almost two weeks ago. Iraqi authorities are afraid that the Islamists can cut off power or water supply of millions of Iraqis. If the dam is destroyed, it can cause devastating floods in major cities of the country, including Baghdad.
The Sunni group Islamic State previously fighting in Syria and formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) seized large parts of Iraq in early June, ratcheting up tensions in the region. In late June, the Islamic State announced the establishment of a caliphate on the territories it had captured in Iraq and Syria.