The Islamic State's latest propaganda effort is a video that purportedly shows the militant group parading captured Kurdish fighters through the streets of Kirkuk in northeastern Iraq. The video, which surfaced Friday on IS-affiliated social media accounts, claims to show 17 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in cages being carried on vehicles through a cheering crowd.
The Islamic State attacked Peshmerga fighters in Sinjar on Thursday, as well as Kurdish forces stationed north of Mosul.
The militants also took control of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi late Thursday night and Friday. According to CNN, at least 25 Iraqi police officers were killed in the fighting after IS invaded the town.
Al-Baghdadi — which shares the name of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — has been besieged by militants for months and is only nine miles away from the strategic Ain al-Asad Air Base, where hundreds of US Marines are training Iraqi troops.
According to Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, as many as 25 IS militants, many disguised in Iraqi army uniforms, attempted to storm the base and detonate suicide bombs before Iraqi security forces drove them back. Thirteen Iraqi soldiers and almost all of the IS militants were killed in the ensuing battle.
The US military also reportedly deployed Apache attack helicopters to defend the base.
"The attack, the attempted attack, obviously was not successful on their part," Kirby said.
As many as 400 US security forces are on the al-Asad base, the largest military outpost still under Iraqi government control in Anbar province.
Although the attack on the base was unsuccessful this time, the fact that IS now controls the nearby town of al-Baghdadi heightens concerns that they could launch another attack and target American security forces in the near future.
The fighting comes days after President Barack Obama asked Congress for the authorization to wage war against the Islamic State. The US military, along with a coalition of European, Arab, and Kurdish forces, have been launching strikes against the group in Iraq since last June.
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