— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) August 7, 2014
McClatchy reports: Jet aircraft attacked Islamic State positions outside the town of Kalak, 25 miles northwest of Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, a resident of Kalak told McClatchy early Friday.
The resident, reached by phone from Irbil, said she had seen the aircraft and had heard the explosions coming from behind Islamic State lines, which are slightly more than a mile away. The resident said because it was dark she could not see any markings on the aircraft.
Kurdish television reported that the bombers were American. There was no confirmation from U.S. officials in Washington.
The reported bombing came after a day of panic in the Kurdish capital following Islamic State militants’ seizure of four strategic towns on a key highway and their advance to positions just minutes from Irbil.
Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga militiamen built earthen berms near Kalak on the highway that links Irbil with Mosul, the Iraqi city whose fall to Islamic State militants in early June touched off a sweep across northern and western Iraq that until Thursday had spared Kurdish areas.
But that quiet appeared to be over, with the Islamic State boldly saying in an Internet posting Thursday that it intended to capture Irbil, a city previously thought so secure that the United States two months ago chose it as one of two Iraqi cities safe enough to receive scores of staffers evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
“The Americans keep saying they will help us,” said Rosg Nuri Shawess, a top Kurdish military commander who was overseeing the defensive preparations. “Well, if they plan to help they had better do it now.” [Continue reading…]