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Over 28,000 meals and 5,600 litres of water dropped over northern Iraq amid continued air strikes

US warplanes bombed Islamic State positions in northern Iraq yesterday.

US MILITARY PLANES dropped containers with water and tens of thousands of meals to civilians fleeing jihadist violence in Iraq, the Pentagon said late Friday.

Three cargo planes escorted by two F/A-18 combat jets dropped the supplies, which were intended “for thousands of Iraqi citizens threatened by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Mount Sinjar, Iraq,” the Pentagon said.

The cargo planes – a C-17 and two C-130s – together dropped a total of 72 bundles of supplies, which included 28,224 individually packaged meals and 16 bundles containing 1,522 gallons [5671 litres] of fresh drinking water.

The combat jets were from the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, the statement read.

“To date, in coordination with the government of Iraq, US military aircraft have delivered 36,224 meals and 6,822 gallons of fresh drinking water, providing much-needed aid to Iraqis who urgently require emergency assistance,” the Pentagon said.

Mideast Iraq Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take cover during airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants near the Khazer checkpoint outside of the city of Irbil. Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS

US warplanes bombed jihadist positions in northern Iraq on Friday, in what the federal and Kurdish governments vowed would allow them to start clawing back areas lost in two months of conflict.

President Barack Obama’s order for the first air strikes on Iraq since he put an end to US occupation in 2011 came after Islamic State (IS) militants made massive gains on the ground, seizing a dam and forcing a mass exodus of religious minorities.

The Pentagon said US forces bombed an artillery position after fire against Kurdish regional government forces defending their capital Arbil.

In a second wave hours later, a drone destroyed a mortar position and jets hit a seven-vehicle IS convoy with eight laser-guided bombs.

The US operation began with air drops of food and water for thousands of people hiding from the Sunni extremist militants in a barren northern mountain range.

Many people who have been cowering in the Sinjar mountains for five days in searing heat and with no supplies are Yazidis, a minority that follows a 4,000-year-old faith.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: US launches air strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq >

Explainer: What’s happening with the latest attacks in Iraq? >

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