• Friday, November 28, 2014

US strikes targets in northern Iraq

Iraqi Kurds advance on jihadist militants

Afp, Washington, Kirkuk

The United States on Sunday used aircraft and drones to strike targets in northern Iraq to try to rein in Islamic State militants, who have seized a large swath of territory in the region.

"US military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in support of Iraqi security force operations, using attack and remotely-piloted aircraft to conduct two airstrikes in the vicinity of Arbil and Mosul dam," a statement from Florida-based Centcom said, using one of the acronyms by which the Islamic State is known.

"One strike destroyed an ISIL humvee near the Mosul Dam and the other strike destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle near Arbil. All aircraft exited the strike area safely," it said.

Iraqi Kurdish forces, meanwhile, backed by air power retook three villages from jihadist militants northeast of Baghdad yesterday and also held off two assaults elsewhere, officials said.

Militants led by the IS group overran large chunks of Iraq in a lightning June offensive that swept security forces aside.

But Iraqi federal forces and the autonomous Kurdish region's peshmerga fighters are now fighting to regain ground from the militants on multiple fronts.

Kurdish forces backed by Iraqi air support yesterday retook three villages in the Jalawla area in Diyala province, as well as a main road used by jihadists to transport fighters and supplies, peshmerga members said.

"Jalawla is strategic because it is a gateway to Baghdad," Shirko Merwais, a senior Kurdish political party official in nearby Khanaqin, told AFP.

In the area, Iraqi aircraft are "carrying out air strikes and the peshmerga... are fighting on the ground," he said.

Further north, militants launched two assaults on the Shiite Turkmen-majority town of Tuz Khurmatu, late on Sunday and early yesterday.

Both attacks were beaten back by Kurdish forces supported by Iraqi aircraft, officials said.

Published: 12:01 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Last modified: 2:12 am Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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