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ISIL attack on Kirkuk repulsed, bells ring out again in Bartella


Iraq

ISIL attack on Kirkuk repulsed, bells ring out again in Bartella

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Kurdish Peshmurga forces have repulsed a major ISIL attack on the city of Kirkuk.

A combination of sleeper cells and fighters who reportedly entered the city posing as refugee villagers killed 18 soldiers and attacked a major power station on the outskirts, killing plant workers, including two Iranians.

ISIL is thought to have launched the attack to divert resources from the assault on Mosul, in which Kurdish forces are taking part alongside Iraqi government troops, Shi’ite militias, and special forces from several Western nations.

Turkish forces could soon be joining the battle for Mosul, as the US Defence Secretary Ash Carter says Turkey and Iraq have agreed on a role for Ankara in retaking the city.

Church bells were ringing in nearby Bartella for the first time in two years. It is one of a number of outlying towns and villages near Mosul to have been recaptured from ISIL since Sunday. The historically Christian region was home to thousands of Assyrian Christians who fled ISIL’s advance in 2014.

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