Islamic State militants attacked the predominantly Kurdish city of Kirkuk and nearby areas on Friday, a day after ISIS/Daesh called on the Kurds to cease fighting the militant group in Mosul. The commander of a Peshmerga base near Kirkuk believes that Daesh has been keeping sleeper cells in Kirkuk. Or, the militants may have entered Kirkuk by posing as refugees from Hawija.
Some Peshmerga troops were forced to redeploy to Kirkuk, where militants may still control some districts, but the situation is mostly calm. Iraqi forces are also being sent. There are reports that civilians have also joined the battled.
The attack on Kirkuk is believed to be a diversion from the battles in Mosul. There, the United Nations reported that militants forcibly removed hundreds of families from Najafia and Samalia and transferred them to Mosul to be used as human shields.
At least 553 people were killed and 206 were wounded.
In Kirkuk, at least 16 security personnel were killed, including six police officers, and 37 were wounded including 15 Peshmerga. A sniper killed a reporter from Turkmeneli TV who was covering the assault. A local news station reported that 51 civilians were injured and taken to hospitals. At least 40 other wounded were reported. One civilian has died. At least 20 militants were killed.
In Bashiqa, four Peshmerga were killed and 10 were wounded. One of the dead was a lieutenant colonel.
Two security personnel were killed yesterday in Bartella, which is now liberated. Unauthorized Turkish airstrikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) targets in northern Iraq left six guerrillas dead.
Federal Police forces reported 180 militants killed in Mosul operations.
Eleven militants were killed in an attack on Peshmerga force at the Makhmour front.
In Mosul, an airstrike killed 13 militants.
A strike on Sharqat left 11 militants dead.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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