Peshmerga kill 200 IS terrorists in multi-pronged operations East Mosul
Up to 5,000 Peshmerga participated in the offensive, including around 1000 volunteers, and were supported by International Coalition air strikes.
Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq said they have rooted out Islamic State mercenaries from nearly 500 square kilometres of territory and broken a key supply line between the city of Mosul and strongholds to the west near Syria.
Masrour Barzani, head of the Kurdish Security Council, told a news conference that Islamic State fighters could still travel between Mosul and Tal Afar but said it would take longer and make communications more difficult.
"Mosul is more isolated from north, east and south than it was before. There is more heat on ISIS," he said at an operation centre.
Barzani said the bodies of at least 200 IS terrorists were found during Wednesday's offensive; he declined to say how many Peshmerga fighters were killed.
He said "Islamic State had sent 14 car bombs to the front lines to attack our forces, but they were destroyed en route by air strikes or anti-tank missiles." Barzani added that some fighting continued in the region on Wednesday night.
An al- Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State took Mosul, the biggest northern city, and wide swathes of northern and western Iraq in June, overrunning weak Iraqi Government forces. But regional Kurd- ish Peshmerga forces have since regained considerable ground with the help of U.S.-led air strikes.
Assisted by air strikes that began the night before and continued during the ground attacks, Peshmerga fighters advanced from five directions and took a commanding position above a critical crossroads at Kiske, 40 km (25 miles) west of Mosul.
A fleet of bulldozers followed, digging trenches to secure the gains.
Confronted with Iraq's long border with Syria, the Kurds have struggled to deal Islamic State a decisive blow to overcome their remaining outposts in north western Iraq.
"The terrorists are no longer as strong as they used to be," Barzani said.