Kirkuk under threat of ISIL sharpshooters
Sebati Karakurt - KIRKUKSharpshooters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group have become a threat in the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk in Iraq on the third day of clashes, with security forces still tracking down the militants.
Locals and journalists working in the field have been trapped in the streets due to concealed ISIL sharpshooters in the city.
Clashes intensified on the third day of ISIL attacks across the city in the southern Dumiz neighborhood, housing Arab citizens, in addition to the June 1 and Esra Mefqudin neighborhoods in the west housing Arabs and Turkmens.
The militants also attacked Muhafiz Street, where predominantly wealthy Turkmens and Christians reside.
Streets remained empty on Oct. 23 as sharpshooters immediately opened fire at anyone moving. Locals have been waiting for anti-terror units to kill the militants in order to go out.
The north side of the city and Kurdish neighborhoods in the east have been the most secure places with no clashes reported yet. Locals have also moved to the neighboring Arbil and Sulaymaniyah provinces when possible.
Due to the sleeping ISIL cells, security has yet to be fully provided in the city.
However, peshmerga forces have been hunting the militants with armored vehicles.
On Oct. 21, ISIL sharpshooters killed Ahmet Necmeddin Haceroğlu, who was the news editor of Türkmeneli TV, in an attack on his broadcasting vehicle.
ISIL militants struck with a surprise assault on the city on Oct. 21, but dozens of attackers, including several suicide bombers, failed to seize control of key government buildings.
At least 51 militants have been killed, including three more on Oct. 23, local security officials told Agence France-Presse.
Sporadic clashes were continuing, a senior security official said, with forces besieging ISIL gunmen in the Nidaa neighborhood.
At least 46 people, most of them members of the security forces, were killed in the raid and ensuing clashes, the agency said.
Kurdish and other forces were also tracking down jihadists believed to have fled Kirkuk on Oct. 22 to rural areas east of the city.
The militants also attacked Rutba, a remote town near the Jordanian border in the western province of Anbar, with five suicide car bombs, the area’s top army commander said on Oct. 23.
The attackers briefly seized the mayor’s office but security forces quickly regained the upper hand, he said.