IS Triple Suicide Attack Kills Dozen in Fallujah

IS Triple Suicide Attack Kills Dozen in FallujahIS Triple Suicide Attack Kills Dozen in Fallujah

The Islamic State militant group killed at least 13 Iraqi soldiers in a triple suicide car bombing at an army base south of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, nearly 70 km west of Baghdad, military sources said.

Those killed in Sunday’s attack in the village of Al-Hayakil included the commander of the second army regiment of the first army division in Anbar Province, a military source told Al Jazeera.

The attack came a day after a quadruple suicide bombing claimed by IS near the strategic town of Baiji killed at least 11 Iraqi security personnel.

IS, which controls large parts of northern Iraq, said four of its foreign fighters carried out Saturday’s bombings, which targeted Iraqi Army and allied units’ positions in the town of Hajjaj, on the road between Tikrit and Baiji.

Seven soldiers were killed as well as four members of the Popular Mobilization force, a militia group, and volunteers that have been heavily involved in the fight against IS in Iraq.

At least 27 people were also wounded in the coordinated attack, which saw one of the four car bombs neutralized before it could reach its target, a police colonel said.

Social media accounts sympathetic to IS released images purporting to show the suicide bombers preparing for the attacks, and posing with vehicles, which matched the description given by the Iraqi officer.

The pictures identify three bombers as Abu-Hafs “the Kuwaiti,” Abu Ibrahim “the German,” and Abu Yusuf “the Briton.” The images were posted with the logo of IS’s self-declared Salaheddin Governorate.

 Kurds Closing in on IS

Syrian Kurdish fighters closed in on the outskirts of a strategic IS-seized town on the Turkish border Sunday, Kurdish officials and an activist group said, potentially cutting off a key supply line for the extremists’ nearby de facto capital.

Taking Tal Abyad, some 80 km from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, would mean the group would not have a direct route to bring in new foreign militants or supplies.

The Kurdish advance, coming under the cover of intense US-led coalition airstrikes in the area, also would link their two fronts and put even more pressure on Raqqa as Iraqi forces struggle to contain the group in their country.

Meanwhile, hundreds trying to flee the offensive pressed against the barbed wire fences separating the town from Turkey, as masked militants likely belonging to the IS could be seen as Turkish soldiers watched from the other side.

On Sunday, Kurdish official Idriss Naasan said IS insurgents have fled from Suluk, a few km southwest of Tal Abyad, and that Kurds now hold the town. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also IS militants had withdrawn.

However, Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Observatory, said IS militants still control the road linking the Turkish border with Raqqa.

 Anti-IS Airstrikes Ongoing

US airstrikes continued Sunday on the Turkish-Syrian border area, as an AP journalist on the Turkish side of the border from Tal Abyad saw one strike east of the town.

Nasser Haj Mansour, a defense official in the main Syrian Kurdish force, the YPG, said officials are coordinating with the US-led coalition regarding a possible attack on Tal Abyad. He added that the aerial coverage prevented the group from bringing reinforcements to the area.

The IS has declared areas of Syria and Iraq it holds as part of its self-declared “caliphate.” Their gruesome propaganda videos of mass killings have drawn in foreign fighters, many coming in over the border from Syria. In recent weeks, the IS has relied more and more on foreign fighters to carry out the coordinated suicide bombings that have pushed out Iraqi forces.

Since the beginning of May, members of the YPG have taken more than 200 Kurdish and Christian towns in northeastern Syria, as well as strategic mountains seized earlier by the IS group.