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ISIS throws waves of suicide bombers at Iraqi Army, Peshmerga

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7 suicide bombings targeted forces opposed to the Islamic State on Thursday as ISIS mobilized its Mosul jihadist volunteers following the loss of six villages to the Iraqi Army yesterday, reported Al Masdar News.

According to Amaq Agency, three consecutive suicide attacks struck the Iraqi Army and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) at Bashitah and Maranah, east of Mosul.

Meanwhile, an ISIS driver detonated his vehicle's explosives near a gathering of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters between the villages of Kafrok and Batnaya, northwest of Mosul.

A fifth Islamic State suicide attack also struck joint Peshmerga and PMU forces at Bazkartan village, east of Mosul.
Finally, two ISIS suicide trucks bypassed the Kurdish frontline northeast of Mosul and detonated their explosives at the crossroad between Janji and Khorsabad.

Despite waves of ISIS suicide bombers, the Iraqi Army and PMU secured the largely Assyrian town of Bartella on Thursday morning, advancing to within the 20 kilometer perimeter of Mosul city.

A US service member died yesterday from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq while a Kurdish commander was reported as killed by a Daesh suicide bomber, the US-led military coalition and Kurdish sources said, reported Middle East Monitor.

A US defence official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the incident took place near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Roughly 5,000 US forces are in Iraq. More than 100 of them are embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces involved with the Mosul offensive, advising commanders and helping them ensure coalition air power hits the right targets, officials have said.

The statement did not identify the service member, who is the first US combat death in the operation to dislodge Daesh militants from Mosul. It is also the fourth US combat death since the coalition intervened in 2014 to fight Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon this week played down any new role for US forces in Iraq’s battle to retake Mosul and said they would be behind the front line of troops. But as the United States has increased its presence in Iraq this year to help in the Mosul fight, officials have acknowledged Americans will be “closer to the action”.

Peshmerga commander reported killed

In related developments, a senior Kurdish Peshmerga field commander was also reported as having been killed by Daesh militants yesterday evening in the Bashiqa district.

Brigadier Mustafa Gorani was killed by a Daesh suicide car bomb (known as a VBIED) that managed to breach Peshmerga lines in Bashiqa which is not too far from a Turkish military base. If confirmed, Gorani’s demise will be the highest ranking Peshmerga death so far.
According to Al Jazeera, the same VBIED attack claimed “tens” of Peshmerga lives.

Daesh’s ability to breach Kurdish lines in Bashiqa demonstrates that it is putting up fierce resistance, despite being heavily outnumbered. It also shows that it is capable of inflicting serious losses on Iraqi forces and their allies.

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