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Obama orders air strikes in Iraq

Barack Obama on Monday formally notified Congress that he had authorised targeted air strikes in Iraq.

US President Barack Obama. Picture: AFP.

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Monday formally notified Congress that he had authorised targeted air strikes in Iraq to help deliver a humanitarian aid to the besieged Shi'ite town of Amerli, the White House said in a statement.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shi'ite militias on Sunday broke the two-month siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants and entered the northern town, after US military carried out air strikes on IS militant positions near the town and airdropped humanitarian supplies to the trapped residents there.

Obama has to notify Congress of the authorisation under the War Powers Resolution.

"This operation is consistent with the military missions we have outlined to date in Iraq - to protect US personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground," National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.