Intense video footage has surfaced that purports to show an Islamic State vehicle exploding in midair during an attack on Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.
The footage was reportedly filmed April 12 near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. According to local Iraqi media sources, it shows an attempted suicide attack by the militant group.
In the video, an explosion appears to launch a car several hundred feet in the air. The vehicle spins and flips as it descends before erupting into flames in another explosion, possibly due to the detonation of an improvised explosive device inside.
The Kurds have made significant gains against the Islamic State and derailed the militant group's advance in northern Iraq. The Islamic State has attempted to retaliate, but the Kurdish forces say the jihadists are killing themselves in failed attacks and losing significant territory in the process. Kurdish forces released footage last month that they claimed showed the Islamic State attempting to use chlorine gas as a chemical weapon.
Pentagon officials claim that the Islamic State has lost 25 to 30 percent of its territory in Iraq since US airstrikes began in August, pushing the group back from parts of Erbil, Babil, Baghdad, and Kirkuk.
"ISIL is being slowly pushed back," Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said, using a common acronym for the militant group. "The combination of coalition air power and Iraqi ground forces are having an effect on the enemy's ability to hold territory and have freedom of movement."
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is making his first official visit to the US this week, and he is expected to ask for military aid such as drones, helicopters, and ammunition in order to "finish" the Islamic State, as he put it to reporters Monday. President Barack Obama announced that the US will give Iraq an additional $200 million in humanitarian aid, but declined to say if military equipment and arms would also be supplied.
Although the Islamic State is experiencing some setbacks in Iraq, their influence in Syria has not waned. The group has lost territory near Kobane at the Turkish border, but seized areas near Damascus, including the Yarmouk refugee camp.