KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Peshmerga forces on Saturday foiled a plan by the Islamic State (IS) to attack front lines in the south of Kirkuk province.
Bapir Sheikh Wasani, a Peshmerga Commander in the south of Kirkuk’s Khurmatu town, on Sunday told Kurdistan 24 they had received intel the jihadist group was planning to attack Peshmerga front lines near Zarga village.
“Da’esh [IS] militants were staging an attack from within two nearby chicken farms. The farms were roughly one kilometer away from our front line,” Wasani said, using the Arabic acronym for the militant group.
“We informed our coalition counterparts about the plan, who then ordered their warplanes to strike the farms and staging areas twice,” he added.
The Peshmerga Commander stated the aerial strikes killed most of the IS militants present and destroyed the jihadists' vehicles.
In the past months, IS has repeatedly attacked southern Kirkuk, aiming to break the Peshmerga forces’ lines of defense and enter the province. None of their attempts have been successful thus far.
The Peshmerga has been one of the most effective ground troops in the fight against IS, according to former US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
Kirkuk officials have repeatedly called on the Federal Government of Iraq to accelerate plans to liberate the IS-held neighboring city of Hawija, maintaining it poses a serious security threat on Kirkuk.
Kirkuk is a diverse province whose makeup includes Turkmen, Arabs, and Christians, and a Kurdish majority. The province is home to half a million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled other parts of Iraq to escape the threat of IS.
Editing by G.H. Renaud