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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Airstrikes Around the Haditha Dam

Yesterday, at the direction of the President and in coordination with the Government of Iraq, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions in Iraq, in support of Iraqi Security Forces’ efforts to retain control of and defend the critical infrastructure of the Haditha Dam in Anbar province. 

The Haditha Dam is the second largest hydroelectric contributor to the power system in Iraq, and destruction of the dam or release of water would create a level of flooding that would potentially pose a catastrophic threat to thousands of Iraqis along the Euphrates valley from Anbar province into parts of Baghdad, including possible flooding in areas in and around the Baghdad International Airport, where hundreds of U.S. personnel reside.  The dam remains under the control of the Iraqi Security Forces, with assistance from Sunni tribes.  Our actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, support Iraqi efforts to defend this critical infrastructure from ISIL.