Kurdistan, Iraq 02 Feb 2015 17:44
Responding to an incursion by Islamic State fighters on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk on Jan. 30, Saturday Peshmerga PUK fighters went on the offensive, launching an attack on the ISIS-held village of Mula Abdulla just five kilometers south of Maktab Khaled.
Supported by anti-ISIS coalition airstrikes from A-10 and F-16 aircraft, approximately 600 Peshmerga fighters used tanks, RPGs, and small arms to assault what they estimated to be 250 ISIS fighters holed up in the village. ISIS responded with mortars and small arms, and as of dusk, the battle for Mula Abdulla was still at a standstill. However, ISIS return fire greatly diminished after several passes by an A-10, which struck their mortar positions to the cheers of Peshmerga fighters taking cover behind a berm just 30 feet away.
An improvised explosive device struck at least one Peshmerga vehicle; the Kurds warned that many of the devices in the immediate area—held by ISIS just days before—could pose a threat to Kurdish operations. Peshmerga authorities conducted controlled detonations of some the devices they found, as well as buried with a bulldozer the corpses of ISIS fighters killed the day before.