Plums of smoke rising inside Shingal Thursday. Photo: Rudaw.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Some 100 fighters of the Islamic State group (ISIS) have been killed in Thursday’s assault in Shingal by Peshmerga forces backed by coalition air raids, a Kurdish commander said.
Commander Zaim Ali also said that 16 suicide attacks by ISIS targeting the Peshmerga in the Yezidi town of Shingal also had been foiled.
Since dawn Thursday, 16 car bombs rigged with explosives were detonated by the Peshmerga and coalition warplanes, Ali told Rudaw.
“They were to target the Peshmerga but all the attempts failed,” he said.
Suicide car bombs are one of the methods used by ISIS to repulse attacks. The militants resorted to car bombings in battles against Iraqi forces, and in Kurdish and Syrian forces in Syria.
A statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said Thursday that 7,500 Peshmerga were involved in three-pronged Shingal offensive.
The statement said the aim of the attack was to cut off ISIS supply routes.
The plan is to “establish a significant buffer zone to protect the city and its inhabitants from incoming artillery,” according to the statement.
ISIS captured the Yezidi town in August 2014, where the militants killed hundreds of civilians, took thousands captive and displaced tens of thousands more.
The atrocities in Shingal made news around the world and prompted the United States to begin airstrikes in the area.
For months, Peshmerga forces have dug trenches and reinforced forward operation positions around the town in preparation for an attack.
The long-awaited attack on Shingal had been stalled by disputes among Kurdish groups about who would do the fighting and govern the area in the post-ISIS era.