Islamic State militant fighters have taken control of a water dam and the military barracks that were protecting it in Iraq on Saturday, Reuters reported.
The Islamic State fighters in the western Anbar province took the dam after a battle that lasted through the night, according to witnesses.
The battle with the Islamic State left 127 Iraqi troops killed. Among those killed were Brigadier General Hassan Abbas Toufan, who was the commander of the first army division in Iraq. General Toufan was killed on Friday when his convoy was ambushed by Islamic State fighters, Bloomberg reported.
Islamic State fighters attacked the al-thirthar dam with vehicles packed with explosives.
During the battle, dozens of Iraqi soldiers were killed. Communication problems made it difficult to know exactly how many were killed in the fighting.
A video made by the Islamic State shows the fighters moving around the dam freely. The black flag of the Islamic State in Iraq was also seen in the video footage flying above a radio tower. Two bodies could also be seen in the footage. The bodies were apparently members of the Iraqi military forces.
The video was posted online by the Islamic State on their official media site.
The Iraqi government has said that they may not be able to take back the dam anytime soon.
The deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, Faleh al-Issawi said about the dam,
“It’s unlikely now the Iraqi defense ministry could be able to retake the dam from the group soon,”
Despite that, the Iraqi government said that they were conducting a new offensive against the Islamic State later this month. The new offensive was meant to recapture parts of the Anbar province. Which have been beneficial in the retaking of Tikrit, The Inquisitr reported.
Iraqi forces have also been conducting a military operation to take back the Tharthar Dam near Fallujah. That dam controls the water flow from the lakes of Tharthar and Habaniya.
Intelligence reports say that the Islamic State may have opened one of the dam’s gates, according to U.S. officials. Darkness, though, has mad it difficult to find out how much water was released and if there has been any flooding.
The attack shows how deadly the Islamic State still is in the Anbar province, which is populated mainly by Sunni Muslims.
Ahmed al-Dulaimi said that 40 Iraqi soldiers had been captured by the Islamic State. It is feared that the captive troops may be executed later by the Islamic State fighters. al-Dulaimi is a tribal leader who has been fighting the Islamic State in the Anbar province.
The Islamic State is also responsible for three suicide car bombings in the western side of the Anbar province on Saturday. The car bombings took place at a checkpoint on the Iraq-Jordan border. The bombing killed three Iraqi troops and wounded ten others.