Kurdish Peshmerga forces, south of Khurmatu. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A new ISIS assault was repelled by Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Tuz Khurmatu, about 75 kilometers south of Kirkuk on Sunday and the bulk of the attackers were killed, said a Peshmerga official, adding they began security operations in the region.
According to some Peshmerga, four ISIS militants wearing explosive belts attacked a Peshmerga base in northwestern Khurmatu. The fighting lasted for two hours but the attackers were defeated and killed.
According to the Peshmerga, the assailants were Pakistani and Indonesian and they had been able to break into the Peshmerga base. When they were surrounded, they detonated their payloads.
A Rudaw reporter said a Peshmerga soldier was also wounded in the confrontation.
To locate the gap which the slain attackers had possibly used for the attack, the Peshmerga launched a search operation to clear the area of any other militants who might also have sneaked into the region.
This is the fourth similar ISIS assault in a month on Peshmerga positions near Tuz Khurmatu which has left a number of Peshmerga soldiers also dead.
Kurdish security officials have said the liberation of Hawija is crucial for the security of Kirkuk city and the region in general which suffered from several deadly bombings over the past year claimed by ISIS militants.
Peshmerga forces, who recently come under daily ISIS sniper fire in the Hawija area, are ready to begin operations to oust the extremist group’s last holdout in Kirkuk province, but the military offensive has been repeatedly delayed by Baghdad. The Kurdish forces are accusing the central government of purposely leaving a pocket of ISIS in the area to cause “problems.”