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Kurdish forces battle Islamic State militants near Arbil

Monday, August 11, 2014 - 00:35

Kurdish forces fire at Islamic State fighters near the town of Makhmur, about 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Arbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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The Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in the areas of Iraq and Syria it controls, clashed with Kurdish forces on Sunday (August 10) in the town of Makhmur, about 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Arbil. Footage broadcast on Kurdish media network Rudaw showed Kurdish forces firing their weapons toward a building presumably harbouring militants from the Islamic State, who have seized wide swathes of territory since they swept into northern Iraq in June. On Monday (August 11), police said fighters had seized the town of Jalawla, 115 km (70 miles) northeast of Baghdad, after driving out the forces of the autonomous Kurdish regional government. On Sunday, a government minister said Islamic State militants had killed hundreds of people from the small Yazidi religious sect, burying some alive and taking women as slaves. With the group now appearing set on trying to take the Kurdish capital the U.S. has launched air strikes in recent days in a bid to quell the onslaught. The U.S. Central Command said drones and jet aircraft had hit Islamic State armed trucks and mortar positions on Sunday near Arbil. That marked a third successive day of U.S. air strikes, and Central Command said they were aimed at protecting Kurdish peshmerga forces as they face off against the militants near Arbil, the site of a U.S. consulate and a U.S.-Iraqi joint military operations centre. The Islamic State wants to establish religious rule in a caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq and has tapped into widespread anger among Iraq's Sunnis at a democratic system dominated by the Shi'ite Muslim majority following the U.S. invasion of 2003.

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Kurdish forces battle Islamic State militants near Arbil

Monday, August 11, 2014 - 00:35