Peshmarga forces south of Tuz Khurmatu. Rudaw file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Kurdish Peshmerga forces repelled a pre-dawn assault by ISIS in the predominately Kurdish town of Khurmatu in Iraq’s north Diyala province on Thursday, killing several militants, said a Peshmerga official.
“At 3:20am, ISIS launched an assault from the Zargawa Bridge and engaged in a confrontation with Peshmerga,” said Faruq Ahmed, a Peshmerga commander in the area. “The clashes lasted for two hours.”
Ahmed said a number of ISIS militants were killed in the attack and a front end loader the militants brought with them was destroyed.
“Peshmerga gave a huge blow to the militants and stopped them from advancing,” he said.
The situation is under control and fights have ended, he explained.
Khurmatu is among the vast territories that remain in dispute between Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north.
But after Iraqi forces fled large parts of the country in the face of an offensive by ISIS in June 2014 – leaving land and massive caches of weapons to the militants – Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved in to their claimed areas, and Kurdish President Masoud Barzani declared that the areas were no longer in dispute.