Iraq forces in fierce clashes with IS

The Myanmar Times - - World -

SE­CU­RITY forces bat­tled with Is­lamic State group gun­men who in­fil­trated Kirkuk in a brazen raid that rat­tled Iraq as it ramped up an of­fen­sive to re­take Mo­sul.

A toxic cloud re­leased by a fire started by IS mil­i­tants at a sul­phur plant south of Mo­sul killed at least two civil­ians and forced some US ser­vice mem­bers to wear masks.

A day af­ter the shock at­tack on the Kur­dish-con­trolled city of Kirkuk, ji­hadist snipers and sus­pected sui­cide bombers were still at large, prompt­ing Bagh­dad to send re­in­force­ments.

Spe­cial counter-ter­ror­ism and in­tel­li­gence units were hunt­ing down some of the dozens of IS fight­ers who stormed pub­lic build­ings early on Oc­to­ber 21.

“We have 46 dead and 133 wounded, most of them mem­bers of the se­cu­rity ser­vices, as re­sult of the clashes with Daesh [the IS],” an in­te­rior min­istry bri­gadier gen­eral said, adding that 48 ji­hadist at­tack­ers had been killed so far and sev­eral oth­ers wounded.

The large-scale in­ghi­masi at­tack, a term for ji­hadist oper­a­tions in which gun­men, of­ten wear­ing sui­cide vests, in­tend to sow chaos and fight to the death rather than achieve any mil­i­tary goal, caught Kirkuk off guard.

They used mosque loud­speak­ers to broad­cast praise of their self-pro­claimed “caliphate”, which has been shrink­ing steadily since last year and is look­ing closer than ever to col­lapse.

Clashes broke in the coun­try­side

just east of Kirkuk be­tween IS fight­ers flee­ing the city and se­cu­rity forces, a se­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said.

The at­tack, which is be­lieved to have been car­ried out both by sleeper cells and mil­i­tants who en­tered the city, was widely seen as an at­tempt by the IS to draw at­ten­tion away from their set­backs in the bat­tle for Mo­sul.

Mo­sul is the most pop­u­lous city in the “caliphate” IS de­clared in June 2014, and the oper­a­tion to re­cap­ture it is Iraq’s largest in years. –

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