Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Allies train Iraqi Kurdish forces

Iraqi Kurdish forces have begun receiving training from western allies including the US as they seek to beef up their capabilities against the Islamic State militant group, a top Kurdish security official said.

Helgurd Hikmet, general director of the ministry overseeing Kurdish military forces known as peshmerga, said that France, Italy and Germany are also among countries providing training to help Kurdish forces use the new machine guns, mortars and rockets they have received.

"We asked all our allies, when they provided us with new weapons, that these weapons need training," Mr Hikmet said. "So now all the allies that provided us with those weapons are providing us with training."

The US launched air strikes and humanitarian missions in August to aid Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq.

The French last week joined in the aerial campaign. A number of European countries have also committed to arming the Kurds and providing humanitarian support for more than a million displaced people.

Meanwhile, a bombing and a shooting has killed seven people in and around the capital, Baghdad.

The first attack happened at midday when a bomb exploded in a commercial street in Baghdad's south-western district of Bayaa, killing four people and wounding 13 others, according to police.

Just north of Baghdad, police said that gunmen broke into the house of an anti-militant Sunni fighter, killing his two sons and a daughter. T he Sunni fighter was wounded along with his wife.

Later, a senior Iraqi commander in the western Anbar province said at least 40 soldiers were killed in recent suicide bombings carried out by Islamic State militants and another 68 have been captured.

Lt Gen Rasheed Fleih said the soldiers disappeared during a siege on the town of Sijir on Sunday and have likely been taken to the nearby city of Fallujah. There has been no communication with any of the captured soldiers.

A second official said 700 troops immediately withdrew from the area following the attack. The militants launched attacks involving suicide bombers on the Iraqi troops in Sijir on Sunday, sparking clashes, security officials said.


From Belfast Telegraph