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Hundreds of ISIS Fighters Launch 17-Hour Assault on Kurds in Iraq

by Jim Miklaszewski and Alastair Jamieson /

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Hundreds of heavily-armed ISIS militants launched a “significant” 17-hour assault on Kurdish forces in Iraq, a commander said Thursday as Defense Secretary Ash Carter continued his visit to the country.

The fighters were eventually repelled with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, according to Gen. Mark Odom, the most senior coalition officer in the area.

The coordinated attack involved assaults on peshmerga forces in three locations to the north and east of the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday.

Between 80 and 120 ISIS fighters took part in each assault, using vehicles with machine guns, truck bombs and suicide bombers.

U.S., British, Canadian and French warplanes launched airstrikes to assist the peshmerga, starting at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) Wednesday and continuing until 9 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Thursday, Odom said.

No U.S. or coalition forces were “in danger,” said Odom, describing the attack as “pretty significant.”

Carter visited the nearby city of Irbil — some 50 miles to the east of Mosul — on Thursday.

The Pentagon press corps traveling with Carter was briefed overnight on the operation.

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