Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have managed to thwart an offensive by members of the Takifiri ISIL militant group against a town in the country’s northwestern province of Nineveh.
A Kurdish military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Peshmerga fighters on Wednesday thwarted an attack by ISIL militants on Sinjar, located approximately 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, Iraq’s al-Sumaria satellite TV network reported.
The source added that the ISIL extremists used machine guns as well as grenades to push their way into the town, as fierce exchanges of fire between the two sides lasted for about two hours.
The unnamed Kurdish official went on to say that scores of ISIL militants were killed during the heavy clashes, while Peshmerga forces did not suffer any casualties.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces have temporarily put on hold a major military operation to take back the strategic northern city of Tikrit from ISIL. The army says the offensive is paused to allow civilians to leave the city.
Iraq’s Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban says the operation has so far managed to achieve 90 percent of its objectives, and the terrorists have been forced to gather in a pocket of the city center.
ISIL has booby-trapped buildings and roads leading to Tikrit, so the Iraqi forces, backed by volunteer fighters, have slowed down the push to reduce their own causalities, protect the infrastructure and let residents leave, Ghabban said.
Tikrit, the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, was seized by ISIL in June last year.
The city’s recapture is crucial for the Iraqi army in its quest to take control of the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, situated some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of Baghdad.
By Press TV