The bid to seize back Mosul dam from extremists falters as US backed forces are hampered by explosive devices
The American backed offensive to recapture Iraq’s biggest dam slowed on Monday, as fighters from the Islamic State rigged part of the area with booby traps and remotely triggered bombs.
Whilst a series of air strikes by American F-18 fighter jets reportedly sent most of the jihadists fleeing from the central parts of Mosul dam, a network of landmines and planted explosives they left behind impeded Kurdish ground forces from recapturing the strategically vital terrain.
“The jihadists have escaped from their positions beside the water pumps – the most important levers for the dam,” said General Kawa Kawani, spokesman for the Kurdish special forces. “But we cannot enter the area because of the explosives.” Continue reading
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Iraq crisis: Iraqi minority says massacre of civilians not over yet
Yazidi activist claims President Obama’s statement that a military evacuation of Mount Sinjar was no longer necessary encouraged Isis militants
A leading Yazidi politician said yesterday that he was preparing to make a last stand in his home village in northern Iraq, as members of the religious minority warned that another massacre of civilians by the extremist militants of the Islamic State (formerly Isis) showed that the crisis was far from over. The United Nations said it was trying to confirm reports of the worst single atrocity against Yazidis since the Islamic State offensive began on 3 August, with two separate sources saying up to 400 men had been executed in the village of Kocho after refusing to convert to Islam.
Last night, Kurdish forces backed by US air strikes were attempting to retake control of the Mosul Dam, which helps power parts of northern Iraq, with some eyewitness reports claiming a ground offensive had been launched as part of the operation. Eleven fighters from Islamic State, which has controlled the dam since 7 August, were said to have been killed. The strikes came a day after Barack Obama said it was no longer necessary to carry out a military evacuation of Mount Sinjar – where tens of thousands of people had been trapped by militants earlier – since many people had managed to escape following US air strikes.
But a leading Yazidi activist, Dr Mirza Dinnayi, who had spoken to Kocho’s senior official before the massacre, claimed there were still 25,000 people in the area and described Mr Obama’s remarks as “a very big mistake”.
When the US said that the siege of Sinjar was effectively over, “this encouraged Islamic State to attack 24 hours later”, he told Jonathan Rugman, of Channel 4 News. “We had a massacre yesterday [and] could have another.”
ISIS claims gains, takes control of Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam
(CNN) — Fighters with the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria reached the triangle border between Iraq, Syria and Turkey, it said in a message posted on Twitter on Sunday.
ISIS took control of Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam on Iraq’s Tigris River, which provides power to the city of Mosul about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the south, the commander of the Peshmerga Kurdish fighters who had been defending the facility said Sunday.
The dam workers remained inside the facility, which fell after a 24-hour battle, Lt. Col. Herash said. Continue reading