Washington: US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he has authorized targeted airstrikes and airdrops of aid in Iraq amid a humanitarian crisis.

 President Barack Obama. File Pic

Obama said in a speech that he authorized airstrikes "if necessary" against Islamic militants, who have advanced into the Kurdish region of Iraq and seized the country's largest dam on Thursday.

The president also announced that the US launched airdrops of food and water on a mountain top in northern Iraq on Thursday where a religious minority group remains trapped by Islamic militants.