Rudaw

  In Rudaw 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Islamic State (ISIS) militants attacked civilians and Peshmerga forces in two villages of Makhmour town in Erbil province late Thursday, killing and injuring a number of them, according to locals and a military commander.

Sirwan Barzani, commander of Peshmerga forces in Makhmour, told Rudaw that ISIS attacked them and that they are currently responding to the attack. “There are martyrs and injuries among civilians and Peshmerga,” he said.

The Liheban and Khidirjija villages in Qarachogh area were attacked. A villager from the latter spoke to Rudaw on the condition of anonymity saying ISIS “attacked and hit a house with RPGs, causing martyrs and injuries.”

Villagers told Rudaw that they confronted ISIS militants while Peshmerga forces were on their way. A Peshmerga base in the area was attacked as well.

Hussein Jawad, a Peshmerga commander in Makhmour, told Rudaw that three villagers – all brothers – were killed in the attack, adding that “when Peshmerga forces were on their way to the battlefield, their vehicle experienced an accident which caused the martyrdom of a Peshmerga fighter” and the injury of a number of others.

ISIS has increased attacks against Peshmerga forces recently, especially this week, killing several fighters. ISIS has claimed responsibility for some of them.

ISIS seized control of swaths of land in Iraq in 2014. It was declared territorially defeated in 2017, but continues to carry out bombings, hit-and-run attacks, and abductions across several provinces. It is especially active in parts of northern Iraq that are disputed by Erbil and Baghdad, including in the provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahaddin.

Peshmerga officials have blamed deadly ISIS attacks on a lack of coordination between them and Iraqi forces. Efforts to form joint brigades in the disputed areas began earlier this year, but have  stalled.