WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) – Saying America cannot “turn a blind eye” in Iraq, President Obama has given the go ahead for military action in Iraq.

“Today America is coming to help,” he said in a late night statement from the White House.

The president said the military strikes would be carried out if the extremists advance towards American personnel in northern Iraq.

U.S. planes will also drop humanitarian aid to thousands of members of religious minorities trapped in the rugged terrain north of Baghdad.

Militants from the Islamic State group seized Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam on Thursday, giving them control of enormous power and water resources and leverage over the Tigris River that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

Airstrikes would mark a significant shift in the U.S. strategy in Iraq, where the military fully withdrew in late 2011 after nearly a decade of war.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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