WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have succeeded in destroying arms and equipment that could have been used against the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
He says humanitarian efforts continue to airdrop food and water to persecuted religious minorities stranded on a mountaintop, and he says planning is underway for how to get them down.
Obama wouldn't give a timetable for how long the U.S. military involvement would last, saying it depends on Iraqi political efforts.
He says it won't be weeks but will take some time.
Obama also says the advance of the Islamic State forces was more rapid than anticipated.
Obama made his comments on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, just before boarding Marine One for his summer vacation in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, old emotions about Iraq are resurfacing across America. People are conflicted about President Barack Obama's decision to bomb Islamic militants there.
Many support the airstrikes, but do so for contrasting reasons. People who oppose the bombing say the U.S. never should have invaded in the first place. But they struggle with defining America's responsibility to a nation it upended in a long and costly war.
In interviews, no one sees a concrete solution to Iraq's problems.
Neil McCanon, who supports the decision to bomb the militants, says he's torn about how much force should be used. As a U.S. Army veteran who fought there, he doesn't want Iraq to fall into chaos.
Almost 4,500 American troops were killed in Iraq from the 2003 invasion to Obama's withdrawal in 2011.