President Obama authorizes air strikes against Islamic militants in Iraq

President Barack Obama is authorizing the U.S. military to launch targeted air strikes if needed to protect Americans in the city of Irbil from Islamic militants in northern Iraq.

Obama, speaking from the White House, says the U.S. military has already started dropping food, water and supplies to thousands members of a religious minority trapped on a mountain top by the Sunni extremist group Islamic State.

Obama said the U.S. can't turn a blind eye to potential genocide. But he also said that the U.S. will not send combat forces into Iraq.