The United States has launched an air strike against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) group in northern Iraq. Two F/A-18s dropped 500 pound laser guided bombs on mobile artillery that was being used to shell Kurdish forces defending the city of Irbil.
The IS has control of large areas of Iraq and Syria. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes due to the advancing militants. They also control Iraq’s largest dam, which controls the level of the Tigris River, a key source of water and electricity for all of Iraq.
The airstrike is the first time since 2011 that the U.S. has been directly involved in Iraq. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the IS is a threat. Its “campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque targeted acts of violence show all the warning signs of genocide,” he said.
Many Christian minority groups including up to 40,000 Yazidis have fled their homes in Irbil and are trapped on a nearby mountain. The Iraqi government says that the militants have seized hundreds of Yazidi women mostly under age 35. Many Muslims view the Yazidis as devil worshippers and are likely to brutally kill them if they don’t convert to Islam.
Accusing the IS of systematic genocide, President Barack Obama said “America is coming to help” the people of Iraq and announced that U.S. planes would carry out humanitarian air drops of food and water to the Yazidis. Britain and France are also joining the humanitarian operation by sending emergency aid.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Matthew 24:7
“We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another,–fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed. We are not to be surprised at this time by events both great and decisive; for the angel of mercy cannot remain much longer to shelter the impenitent.” Prophets and Kings, page 278