Irbil (Iraq): Islamic State militants have attacked a training camp in Iraq for fighters battling the extremist group, killing three Iraqi Sunni fighters and wounding 10 people, including four of their Turkish trainers, officials said.
The former governor of the northern Ninevah province, Atheel al-Nujaifi, told The Associated Press that the camp in the Bashiqa region near the IS-held city of Mosul came under mortar fire ‘for hours’ yesterday and that the shelling was continuing. Turkey’s military said the camp was hit by Katyusha rockets fired by IS militants during a battle with Iraq’s Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
The Iraqi Kurdish regional government issued a statement late yesterday saying the peshmerga forces repelled several IS assaults and killed over 70 IS fighters ‘in a major coordinated attack across several fronts’ that also included 25 airstrikes by US-led coalition warplanes.
The IS attack came days after Turkey, under intense pressure from Baghdad, was forced to pull out an unspecified number of reinforcements it had sent to the camp, citing threats from the IS group. Turkey had stationed trainers at Bashiqa since last year to help train the Kurdish and Sunni forces, but the arrival of the additional troops earlier this month sparked uproar in Baghdad, which demanded their immediate withdrawal.
A Turkish military statement said the four wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in Turkey near the border with Iraq. None of them were in life-threatening condition, the military said. In Washington, Colin Kahl, national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, condemned the IS attack on the training camp and said the United States was working with its partners in Iraq to confirm the details.