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Flurry of IS attacks divert Iraqi army's attention

The Islamic State is taking advantage of the fact that the Iraqi army, the peshmerga and tribes are unable to establish a unified command against it by opening several fronts.
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter aims his weapon through a hole in a wall on the front line of fighting against Islamic State militants in the outskirts of Mosul January 30, 2015.  REUTERS/Ari Jalal (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4NNTG
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Contradiction prevails in official announcements regarding the course of the battles against the Islamic State (IS) and the group's movements on the ground. When Iraqis were expecting a Mosul liberation battle, IS rushed to send additional fighters to Anbar, Salahuddin and Kirkuk in a bid to open new fronts, with the aim of putting Iraqi forces on the defensive.

Between Jan. 30 and Feb. 18, IS opened several fronts that were both different and distant. IS attacked Kirkuk on Jan. 30 and reached sensitive areas in the city, including the Khabbaz oil field, before it was forced to withdraw after additional peshmerga troops arrived from Mosul.

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