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ISIS rounded up and killed 284 men and boys as Iraqi-led coalition forces closed in on Mosul, the terror group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.
Peshmerga as the Kurdish fighters are known. Kurdish security forces were going house to house Saturday in Kirkuk following a major ISIS attack a day earlier. Kirkuk is 175 kilometers (109 miles) southeast of Mosul.
Kirkuk’s police chief said 48 ISIS militants had been killed during hours of clashes.
Least 40 others had been killed and 76 wounded in the attack, the majority of them Kurdish Peshmerga.
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani described ISIS’ attack on Kirkuk as “a failed attempt by terrorists to make up for the defeats they have suffered at the hands of the Peshmerga on the front line.”
Previous attacks by ISIS militants on Kirkuk have been attempts either to capture the city from the Peshmerga or divert Kurdish troops from the fight in Mosul.
Kurdish officials accuse local Arabs of helping ISIS
In the wake of the Kirkuk attack, Kurdish officials accused local Arabs and some displaced in camps around the city of helping ISIS.
Expect further fighting because 30% of the Arabs there supported ISIS rather than the government or Kurdish authorities.
By Hamdi Alkhshali, Laura Smith-Spark and Tim Lister