A number of militants have been killed in Islamic State’s very first battle with U.S. ground troops after the extremists attempted to overrun an Iraqi military base.
The militants attacked Ein al-Asad military base on Sunday where more than 100 U.S. military support troops are based.
Despite launching the surprise attack just after midnight, ISIS’s offensive was swiftly repelled when U.S. troops and F18 jets joined in the skirmish in support of the Iraqi Army.
Facing both Iraqi and US troops supported by F18 jets, an unknown number of ISIS attackers were killed during the two hour firefight before being forced to retreat.
Ein al-Asad came under repeated attack by ISIS troops in October, however, now bolstered by the U.S. assistance, it poses a much more formidable target.
Sheikh Mahmud Nimrawi, a tribal leader in the region, said ‘US forces intervened because ISIS started to come near the base, which they are stationed in, so (it was) out of self-defense,’ Shafaq News reported.
He added: ‘We have made progress in (the) al-Dolab area, in which ISIS has withdrawn from.’
During the Iraq War, it was the largest airbase located within Iraq’s Anbar province.
Although it scaled down in size following the conclusion of the war, it remains in use by the Iraq Army and is located deep within the remote areas on the front line against ISIS.
Meanwhile, Kurdish forces have launched an operation to retake the town of Sinjar in northwest Iraq after coalition planes pounded Islamic State positions overnight, Kurdish officials said.