Iraqi Kurds Hit Back At Islamic Ultras: Mosul Dam Recaptured
By Kalyan Kumar | August 19, 2014 1:41 PM EST
In a land mark achievement of fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, the Kurdish fighters on Monday reclaimed the strategic Mosul dam.
Children, who fled from the violence in Mosul, play during sunset inside the Khazer refugee camp on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region, June 27, 2014. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, called on the country's leaders on Friday to choose a prime minister within the next four days, a dramatic political intervention that could hasten the end of Nuri al-Maliki's eight year rule.
Reuters reported that the Kurdish offensive was backed by Iraqi forces and had the backing of US warplanes. According to a report from Reuters, the dam was very crucial in the survival of Iraq as its control in the hands of the IS militants would have crippled power and water supplies to the country. Any breach of the structure would have threatened the lives of thousands of people.
Obama Hails Kurds
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the joint offensive of Iraqi and Kurdish forces against the militants. In a news conference, Obama said the operation demonstrated that both Iraqi and Kurdish forces can work together in taking on the ISIS (Islamic State) threat. If they continue to do so, there will be strong support from the United States of America.
The Iraqi security spokesman, Lieutenant General Qassem Atta, also confirmed that Mosul dam has been liberated. Atta told the state television that even as the dam was being retaken, fighting was raging at the nearby facilities, including a residential compound.
After a brief lull, the US air strikes became more sustained on Saturday and Sunday. It boosted the morale of forces as they battled for the retake of the Mosul dam from IS militants. The IS militants were also hit by the Syrian airforce hit at Raqa town.
The Islamic State militants led by the Sunni seek to build a Caliphate covering vast areas of Iraq and Syria.
Giving the details of Mosul operation, Kawa Khatari, an official from Iraq's main Kurdish party, said fighting erupted in the area south of the Mosul dam while engineering teams were working to clear booby traps and bombs left by jihadists.
The US Central Command informed that it carried out 14 air strikes on Sunday near the Mosul dam on the Tigris river. It claimed that the air raids destroyed 10 IS armed vehicles, seven IS Humvees, several armoured personnel carriers and one IS checkpost. Nine US strikes were also conducted at Arbil.
In Raqa province, the Syrian air force too hit the IS militants with 16 raids and killed 31 jihadists. Meanwhile, Michael Fallon, the UK Defence Minister said Britain's involvement in Iraq will expand beyond a humanitarian mission and the offensive can last many months.
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