Iraqi media reported on Tuesday that 45 Islamic State fighters died after eating a Ramadan fast-breaking meal in the city of Mosul in Iraq.
Citing the spokesman of the Kurdish Democratic Party, reports said that it was unclear if it was a case of deliberate poisoning or food poisoning.
According to the Kurdish party spokesman, 145 ISIS fighters participated in the iftar meal, and 45 of them died a short time later.
Mosul, which had a population of over 1 million people, was captured by Islamic State fighters in June and is the largest city in the group’s self-declared caliphate, a stretch of territory that straddles the border between northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
This was not the first time ISIS reportedly suffered casualties as a result of poisoned food. In November, dozens of ISIS fighters died after Free Syrian Army militants infiltrated their base in Syria, posed as chefs, and poisoned their lunches, British media reported at the time.
However, the reports cited an article from the now-defunct Times of Iraq, which The Independent described as an “English news-aggregation blog,” and questioned its reliability. These reports should be taken with a “grain of salt,” The Independent suggested.
Also on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Syrian Kurdish fighters have recaptured more than 10 villages seized by Islamic State north of its de facto capital of Raqqa city, aided by U.S.-led coalition air strikes.
Intensified air strikes across northern Syria and clashes on the ground have killed at least 78 Islamic State fighters since Sunday night, the Britain-based Observatory said.
The strikes are some of the most sustained since they began in September, according to U.S. officials who say they are aimed at curbing the militants’ ability to operate out of Raqqa and to prevent it from fighting back against Kurdish advances.
By By Jack Khoury and Reuters