Kurdish forces repel IS attacks in northern Iraq

Baghdad, July 6 (IANS) Kurdish security forces and US-led coalition aircraft on Monday repelled overnight attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants on three villages in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk, a provincial police chief and a medical source told Xinhua news agency.

Dozens of IS militants carried out attacks before dawn on positions of Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, in the villages of Mujamaa al-Shahid, Mariyam Beg and Murra, which is located some 30 km southwest of Kirkuk, Brigadier General Sarhat Qader said.

“The IS militants only gained foothold in Murra village, but they failed in the other two villages,” Qader told Xinhua over telephone.

“Later on, the Peshmerga forces and local policemen carried out a counter-attack under support of international warplanes and retook control of Murra village at about 6 a.m.,” Qader said.

Qader could not give an immediate report about casualties, but he confirmed that dozes of IS militants were killed and wounded by the clashes and airstrikes.

A medical source from Azadi Hospital in Kirkuk, which is located some 250 km north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, told Xinhua that his hospital received the body of a Kurdish security personnel and admitted 16 others wounded.

The IS militants in August captured Gwer and the nearby town of Makhmour as part of their June 10 blitzkrieg in 2014, posing an imminent threat to the Kurdish capital of Erbil as well as Kirkuk city, but the terrorists have been pushed back in heavy clashes with the Peshmerga and international air support.

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