Obama au­tho­rises mil­i­tary strikes against ISIS lead­er­ship


The US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has au­tho­rised the Pen­tagon to tar­get and kill lead­ers of the Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group, with the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s head Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi be­ing at the top of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s list.

Obama had ap­proved the strikes against in­di­vid­ual tar­gets for the first time. The au­tho­ri­sa­tion was first re­ported by the Wash­ing­ton Post. Obama had pre­vi­ously not per­mit­ted the mil­i­tary to tar­get in­di­vid­u­als from the ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion, also known as ISIS or ISIL, even if in­tel­li­gence showed where they were lo­cated.

White House Press Sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said in a press brief­ing that the Pres­i­dent is “ac­tively en­gaged” in se­lect­ing pos­si­ble Is­lamic State tar­gets that are avail­able. “The Pres­i­dent has got­ten guid­ance about tar­gets that are avail­able and would be crit­i­cal to denying ISIL a safe haven both in Iraq and in Syria,” Earnest said.

Earnest added that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has iden­ti­fied the tar­gets through ramped up “in­tel­li­gence, surveil­lance and re­con­nais­sance as­sets” in the re­gion.

Pen­tagon spokesman Rear Ad­mi­ral John Kirby said that de­stroy­ing a group like the Is­lamic State re­quires an “ag­gres­sive” ap­proach, which in­cludes “dis­rupt­ing their abil­ity to com­mand and con­trol and to lead their own forces.”

Obama an­nounced that he is sharply es­ca­lat­ing the US mil­i­tary cam­paign against mil­i­tants, au­tho­ris­ing US airstrikes in Syria along with ex­panded airstrikes in Iraq.

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