Members of an Iraqi family, displaced from the outskirts of the then ISIS-stronghold of Hawija, raise white flags while travelling with a donkey-cart on the road outside the town on October 3, 2017 following an Iraqi-led operation to capture the city on September 29. Photo: AFP /Ahmad al-Rubaye
KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish Peshmerga official has claimed that they killed two ISIS militants who posed as fleeing civilians while carrying white flags west of Kirkuk on Monday morning.
Kamal Kirkuki, commander of the western front of the Peshmerga forces, told Rudaw that the Peshmerga were aware that the ISIS militants were getting close to the Peshmerga lines. But since they were carrying white flags, the Peshmerga allowed them to get close.
He said the ISIS militants then opened fire at close range. Two ISIS militants were killed as well as a Peshmerga in the clashes.
He added that they also captured one of the ISIS militants alive, while another one who was injured was able to escape.
The ISIS militants lost control of Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, on Thursday when the Iraqi security forces, backed by the mainly Shi'ite Hashd al-Shaabi and the US-led Global coalition defeated the extremist group there, following the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar in northern Iraq.
The town of Hawija was the centre of a pocket of ISIS territory southeast of Kirkuk. From there, ISIS carried out frequent, deadly attacks on Peshmerga and civilians in Kirkuk province.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that more than one thousand ISIS militants voluntarily surrendered themselves to the Kurdish security forces in Kirkuk.
Before operations began, the US-led coalition estimated there were fewer than 1,000 ISIS militants in the Hawija area. The Peshmerga, which had several fronts with ISIS in the area, have provided some support to the Iraqi forces but have largely stayed out of the offensive.