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Obama: Iraq siege broken, airstrikes to continue

President Barack Obama said Thursday that U.S. airstrikes will continue in Iraq, but the Islamic State's siege of Sinjar Mountain had been broken and no further evacuations of Yazidi refugees would be needed.

Obama said the situation on the mountain had "greatly improved," adding that "Americans should be very proud of our efforts."

"We helped save many innocent lives," the president said in a nationally televised statement from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Read More Obama: Iraq airstrikes could continue for months

American actions in Iraq will continue, the president said, pledging to work with Iraqi and international partners to provide continued humanitarian assistance and airstrikes to support the fight against the Islamic militants.

Read MoreThe US ally supporting the Islamic State

Turning to domestic issues, the president appealed for "peace and calm" on the streets of a St. Louis suburb besieged by violent clashes between police and crowds protesting the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

Read MoreMissouri gov to visit as unrest grows

Protests erupted in Ferguson after Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer last weekend. Witnesses have reported seeing protesters making Molotov cocktails and looting, while police have reportedly used tear gas and smoke bombs.

Obama said that he is concerned "over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground," but he also condemned the "bullying or arresting" of journalists "who are just trying to do their jobs."

—By CNBC staff with AP

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