Mortar attacks hit civilians in Tuz Khurmato; Kurdish Islamist ‘The White Flags’ group suspected responsible

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A photo of the damage caused by a mortar to the home of a resident in Tuz Khurmato yesterday morning.
A photo of the damage caused by a mortar to the home of a resident in Tuz Khurmato yesterday morning.

Yesterday, it became apparent that the attacks in Tuz Khurmato had just started up again after a small period of no clashes.  Up to eight mortars are said to have been launched from the mountains east of the city, where the White Flags group is said to operate out of when carrying out attacks. The photos were taken by a resident of Tuz Khurmato, who wrote that a mortar had landed on the roof of his home early yesterday morning.

The damages were part of a barrage of mortars that fell on Tuz Khurmato early on the morning of January 8th, 2018. Up to eight mortars were reported in the attacks.
The damages were part of a barrage of mortars that fell on Tuz Khurmato early on the morning of January 8th, 2018. Up to eight mortars were reported in the attacks.

In retaliation for the mortar attacks, Brigade 52 of the Northern Axis under the Popular Mobilization Forces responded to the threat by ordering several airstrikes on the mountains east of the city:

Iraqi Air Force strikes against Kurdish Islamist group 'The White Flags' around Tuz Khurmato outskirts.
Iraqi Air Force strikes against Kurdish Islamist group ‘The White Flags’ around Tuz Khurmato outskirts.

Brigade 52 together with Brigade 16 are Popular Mobilization Units local to the areas of Tuz Khurmato, Bashir, and Taza. They have been responsible for maintaining security in the cities despite sporadic clashes with resistance groups.

Last week, units from the Rapid Response Division took over the responsibilities of Brigade 52 inside Tuz Khurmato.  The Iraqi Security Forces are planning on launching an operation in this area soon, after the necessary preparations are complete. The terrain itself is difficult and requires extensive assessment to properly execute a successful operation.

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