BAGHDAD — For a second day, U.S. aircraft hammered Islamic State militants around Mosul dam Sunday, as Kurdish forces reported progress in efforts to retake the area.
The U.S. military launched 14 airstrikes around the dam Sunday, according to U.S. Central Command. That comes after nine airstrikes targeted the region Saturday, in an expansion of the U.S. role in the conflict.
Kurdish forces said Sunday they have recaptured some area around the dam, but militants have seeded the area with roadside bombs, making progress slow.
The U.S. strikes on the dam were aimed at helping Kurdish forces take back terrain that had been lost to militants. Militants seized the dam earlier this month, giving them control over the electricity that is distributed to much of northern Iraq and the capability to flood communities downriver.
The U.S. military said they used a mix of aircraft and drones in Sunday's strikes, destroying or damaging seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers and a militant checkpoint.
The militants captured an array of U.S. military equipment from Iraqi forces when four divisions collapsed in Mosul after the radical forces attacked the city in June. The equipment gave Islamic State fighters an advantage in firepower, but it also made them vulnerable to attack from the air.
Up until the strikes this weekend, the American attacks were aimed at stopping militants from threatening Americans in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, and in support of humanitarian efforts to protect a religious minority — the Yazidis — who were trapped on a mountain.