Armed drones guarding US interests in Iraq, official says

The Pentagon. (File) (Ken Hammond/USAF, Getty Images/File)
The Pentagon. (File) (Ken Hammond/USAF, Getty Images/File)
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Updated: 6/27 5:41 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon official said Friday that the U.S. has started flying armed drones over Baghdad in order to protect U.S. civilians and military forces in the Iraqi capital.

The official said the flights started in the last 24 to 48 hours to bolster manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights the military has been sending over violence-wracked Iraq in recent weeks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the new flights on the record.

The official stressed that the armed drones are to provide U.S. protection and that President Obama still has not authorized airstrikes against Sunni militants -- who have been over-running territory in other parts of the country.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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