BAGHDAD (AP) — Dozens of Islamic State fighters struck at dawn, storming government and security compounds in and around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk last week, in a coordinated assault more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the front lines of the Mosul offensive.
Over the last two years, the extremists have adopted innovative tactics and launched diversionary attacks along the amoeba-like frontiers of their self-styled caliphate, and many now fear they have more surprises in store as Iraqi forces close in on Mosul, the militants’ last urban bastion in the country.
The Kirkuk assault was carried out by more than 50 militants who may have been part of so-called sleeper cells. They struck targets in and around the city, pinning down Kurdish security forces for two days and killing at least 80 people. A similar attack was launched on the western town of Rutba, hundreds of miles from Mosul, over the weekend.