Peshmerga thwart ISIS attack on their frontline in Kirkuk; casualties reported – ministry

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SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Peshmerga forces foiled an Islamic State (ISIS) attack their frontline in Kirkuk province late on Sunday, the ministry of Peshmerga said.

In a statement, the ministry said ISIS militants attacked frontlines of the Peshmerga forces near the village of Qara Salim in Prde sub-district, north of Kirkuk.

“There are martyrs and injuries in this coward attack,” the ministry added.

“The terrorists were chased and the situation is under control,” it added.

Esta Media Network reporter cited an official in Kirkuk as saying that two Peshmerga were killed and two others were wounded in the attack.

Meanwhile, Commando Force said it had sent units to Qara Salim village to support the Peshmerga forces in fighting the militants.

The attack came hours after the militants captured Liheban village in the foothills of Qarachogh mountain in Kirkuk province after villagers evacuated the area.

Recently, ISIS militants have increased attacks against civilians and security forces in the disputed territories, claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil.

Last week, the militants carried out five attacks against Peshmerga forces in Garmian administration and Qarachogh mountain near Makhmour, southwest of Erbil.

Three civilians and 10 members of the Peshmerga forces were killed in the attack on Khidrjija village in the foothills of Qarachogh mountain.

Eight other members of the Peshmerga forces were killed in the attacks in Kifri and Kulajo in Garmian administration, according to authorities.

Kurdish officials and analysts have long blamed a lack of coordination along a stretch of territory claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil for ISIS’ continued ability to wage deadly attacks.

The Peshmerga ministry said the militants continued to use a security gap between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces to attack the Peshmerga.

Islamic State controlled roughly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the remote Makhmour region but also major cities including Mosul.

Iraqi forces, Kurdish troops and Iran-backed Shia militias defeated the militant group in 2017, but its members still roam areas of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

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