Kurdish Fighters Drive Islamic State Back From Oil-Rich Iraqi Kirkuk
11:15 31.01.2015(updated 12:35 31.01.2015)
Kurdish Peshemerga managed to rebuff Islamic State militants who were trying to occupy the oil-producing city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
MOSCOW, January 31 (Sputnik) – Kurdish Peshemerga fighters managed to rebuff Islamic State (IS) militants trying to occupy the oil-producing city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, Al Jazeera reported Saturday.
'ISIL [IS] fighters took advantage of the fog and they launched their surprise attack [in Kirkuk], but we managed to defeat them,' Mariwan Abdel Khaleg of the Peshmerga 17th Brigade, told the news outlet.
On Friday, the IS extremist group launched a major attack in Kirkuk, killing a top commander of the Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga fighters, Brig. Gen. Shirko Fatih, and more than 25 of his soldiers.
The Islamic State's Kirkuk attack was a setback for Iraqi Kurds, who intend to include the city into the regions they govern in northern Iraq.
The Peshmerga have been successful in retaking some northern Iraqi towns and villages, as well as preventing the IS from making further advances, aided by airstrikes performed by the US-led coalition.
The Sunni radical militant group has captured about a third of Iraq, targeting oil-rich regions, including the Iraqi city of Mosul, as a source of revenue.
The extremist group, known for its human rights atrocities, began fighting the Syrian government in 2012 and later expanded operations to Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories under its control.
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