On Sunday, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress notifying members of his authorization of targeted airstrikes in Iraq, saying the strikes helped protect U.S. personnel in the country.
In the letter, Obama said the strikes were conducted with the goal of helping Iraqi forces recapture the critical Mosul Dam from the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS. The group had seized the dam earlier this month.
"The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government providing critical services to the Iraqi populace," Obama writes.
"This mission is consistent with President Obama's directive that the U.S. military protect U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, since the failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten U.S. personnel and facilities -- including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad -- and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace," National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement released by the White House.
The Defense Department confirmed that 14 strikes were conducted Sunday "using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft."
Read Obama's letter below: