Bombs kill 13 Iraq Kurds in anti-IS operation

AFP , Friday 11 Sep 2015

Bombs killed 13 members of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces during an operation against the Islamic State jihadist group in the northern province of Kirkuk on Friday, officers said.

"The aim (of the operation) is to secure the Baghdad-Kirkuk road and the centre of the Daquq district and to end activity by (IS) members," said Mohammed Mustafa Hama, a brigadier general in the autonomous Kurdish region's peshmerga forces.

Hama said that roadside bombs and explosives-rigged vehicles left by the jihadists killed 13 peshmerga and wounded 47 during the operation, figures confirmed by a second Kurdish brigadier general who declined to be identified by name.

The second officer said the operation was launched at dawn on Friday with support from international coalition aircraft, and had succeeded in retaking 10 villages from IS.

Kurdish forces also retook villages from IS in Kirkuk in a similar operation in late August.

IS overran large areas of Iraq in a devastating offensive in June 2014, sweeping security forces aside, and drove Kurdish forces back towards their regional capital that August.

A US-led coalition began carrying out air strikes against the jihadists and Kurdish forces have since pushed the jihadists back, as have Iraqi federal forces in other areas.

But much of western Iraq remains under IS control.

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