US-led coalition jets pound ISIS weapon depots, tunnels west of Kirkuk

A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet flies a combat sortie over Iraq July 2, 2015.

ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) – A Peshmerga commander said Sunday that fighter jets from the US-led coalition intensely pounded Islamic State (ISIS) positions on the western Kirkuk front, destroying the group’s weapons depots and tunnels.

“Today at 9:20 am coalition fighter jets destroyed several ISIS fortified positions on the western Kirkuk front including weapons depots, tunnels and bunkers,” Kamal Kirkuki, commander of the Peshmerga forces on the front, told Rudaw by phone.

Kirkuki added that ISIS also suffered heavy casualties from the bombings, many were killed and wounded.

He revealed that the air raids were carried out through “eleven missiles, destroying all the tunnels and depots.”

Asked if ISIS had plotted to carry out any offensive against the Peshmerga on the particular front, the commander said the Peshmerga were “carefully observing the ISIS maneuvers as they try to inflict harm on the Peshmerga on the front, but they have constantly been defeated,” in all the attempts.

He added that ISIS been bringing in forces from Mosul to Kirkuk including their strongholds of Hawija and Riaz. This information was confirmed by brigadier Hama Regir.

Kirkuki had told Rudaw in earlier comments that despite their many defeats in the hands of the Peshmerga on the front ISIS still poses a threat to the Kirkuk region and that the group keeps fortifying its bases.

An estimated 6,000 ISIS militants have been killed since the group’s last major offensive against the Peshmerga south of Kirkuk January last year.