Kurdish forces repel IS attacks in northern Iraq

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Kurdish security forces and U.S.-led coalition aircraft on Monday repelled overnight attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants on three villages in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk, a provincial police chief and a medical source told Xinhua.

Dozens of IS militants carried out attacks before dawn on positions of Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, in the villages of Mujamaa al-Shahid, Mariyam Beg and Murra, which located some 30 km southwest of Kirkuk, Brigadier General Sarhat Qader said.

"The IS militants only gained foothold in Murra village, but they failed in the other two villages," Qader told Xinhua by telephone.

"Later on, the Peshmerga forces and local policemen carried out a counter-attack under support of international warplanes and retook control of Murra village at about 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT)," Qader said.

Qader could not give immediate report about casualties, but he confirmed that dozes of IS militants were killed and wounded by the clashes and airstrikes.

A medical source from Azadi Hospital in Kirkuk, which located some 250 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, told Xinhua that his hospital received one body of Kurdish security member and admitted 16 wounded others.

The IS militants in August captured Gwer and the nearby town of Makhmour as part of their June 10 blitzkrieg in 2014, posing an imminent threat to the Kurdish capital of Arbil as well as Kirkuk city, but the attackers have been pushed back by heavy clashes with the Peshmerga and international air support. Endit

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