If necessary?
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President Obama announced Thursday night in a televised address that he has authorized the U.S. military to conduct airstrikes “if necessary” against Islamist militants in Iraq, and the military has conducted a mission to drop humanitarian aid there to help religious minorities stranded amid the violence.

Obama said in the statement from the White House the U.S. military is authorized to launch targeted airstrikes if Islamist militants advance toward American personnel in northern Iraq. Declaring that “America is coming to help,” he also said that the U.S. decided to conduct the drops to the 50,000 or so religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop in the country’s north, who have been forced to flee their homes as the militants advanced.