Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in an area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of wild boars, local leaders say. Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, discussed the story with The Times of London.
Anwar al-Assi, who is also a chief of the local Ubaid tribe, said the ISIS militants were hiding on the edge of a field about 50 miles southwest of Kirkuk when the boars ambushed them on Sunday, according to USA Today.
There were five other militants who were injured, al-Assi said. He said the group was set to attack a band of local tribesmen. These tribesmen had fled to nearby mountains to seek refuge after ISIS militants were able to take over the town of Hawija three years ago.
“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields.”
Al-Assi said the ISIS militants were in the midst of executing 25 people who were attempting to flee the militant’s captivity in the three days before the boars attacked.
Wild boars can be majorly aggressive, experts said. A wild boar can grow up to 400 pounds and can be deadly with their sharp tusks.
Justin Gansowski, who works as a USDA biologist, said the swine have reportedly attacked livestock, killed a Labrador retriever, and chased people in New York state, according to the New York Times.
“There’s always the potential for attacks on people… They have four-inch tusks that are very sharp and they can be aggressive, particularly the adult males, and charge a pet or a person if they feel trapped. They can slash with those tusks and create pretty deep gashes and wounds.”
Hawija resides about 100 miles south of Mosul and sees dozens of residents flee to Kurdish Kirkuk daily.
“After the arduous effort to liberate Mosul is completed, the Iraqi military planned to launch an offensive in the region.,” al-Assi told the Times.
“We know that a massacre took place in Hawija district through our sources… This will not be ISIS’s last massacre against citizens.”
Hawija is strategically located east of the road from Mosul to Baghdad, on the edge of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. U.S.-backed troops launched the effort to drive the militants out of Mosul in October.
In January, Eastern Mosul was liberated. On Tuesday, the Iraqi military claimed it had taken control of the al-Tanek neighborhood. This is the largest on the western side of the city.
Kirkuk Governor, Najmaldin Karim, insisted to the Iraqi army and government to free Hawija.
“The suffering of the people of Hawija and its surrounding areas is intolerable.”
ISIS militants are contesting every move by the counterterrorism forces.
The extremist group is making full use of the hundreds of thousands of civilians that are currently still trapped in their strongholds, according to Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, a senior commander with the counterterrorism service.
“If the city was empty of civilians, we could have been done with our mission a long time ago.”
The plight of civilians seems to be getting worse every day. adding to commanders’ urgency to find some edge against the Islamic State here, according to the New York Times.
An aide to General Saadi, who used binoculars to monitor the fight and typed updates into the iPad, said that many of the Islamic State forces had been battling were foreign fighters. Judging from the bodies the Iraqis had recovered, it appeared that many had not bathed in weeks, according to the New York Times.
“They don’t have a social life… They just come here to fight and die.”
There are nearly a half-million people are still thought to be trapped in an ever-shrinking area of the city along with an estimated 2,000 remaining Islamic State fighters.
[Featured Image by David Hunt Photography/Shutterstock]