RealNews

US Special Forces take fight to fundamentalist terror group

A hundred American Special Forces soldiers led thousands of Kurdish peshmerga fighters in a massive assault on positions held by hardline Islamic militants yesterday as fighting in the north-east of Iraq entered its second day. Air strikes and artillery pummelled the high mountains above the villages where the Ansar-ul-Islam group, linked to al-Qaeda, established their bases 18 months ago. Pockets of fighters were yesterday putting up stiff resistance, despite an intensive bombardment lasting more than a week. Hundreds more militants had escaped, raising fears that although the attack has successfully reclaimed the six villages, the group has been dispersed rather than eradicated. Early yesterday afternoon militants pinned down American soldiers for several hours before being killed. Around a dozen peshmerga fighters have died and dozens more have been injured. On Friday The Observer watched as waves of peshmerga pushed the militants out of the villages in the foothills of the snowy mountains that line Iraq’s border with Iran, and up into the rocky slopes above. It was unclear whether the Iranians had the ability or the will to stop them despite Tehran’s deployment of thousands of troops along the frontier. Full Story

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