American Troops in Direct Battle with Islamic State

U.S. ground troops had their first direct battle with the Islamic State after the radical militant organization attempted to take over a military base in Iraq.

A number of the militants were killed in the battle for Ein al-Asa military base, where over 100 U.S. support troops have been based.

Despite a surprise attack launched by the radical group close to midnight, the offensive by the IS was quickly repelled when troops from the U.S. and F18 jets entered the skirmish to support the soldiers from the Iraqi Army.

Facing both U.S. and Iraqi troops supported with F18 jets, a number of the IS attackers lost their lives in the firefight that lasted two hours. Eventually the U.S. and Iraqi troops forced the IS militants to retreat.

Ein al-Asad came under a number of attacks by troops from IS back during October. However, now with additional assistance from the U.S. it is a target that has become more formidable.

A tribal leader from that region, Sheikh Mahmud Nimrawi said the forces from the U.S. intervened because IS had started to get close to the base where they have been stationed so they acted in self-defense.

During the war in Iraq, it was the airbase that was the largest in Anbar province.

Although it has been scaled back in size since the end of the war, it is still in use by the Iraqis and located deep inside areas that are both remote and contested by the militant group.

Meanwhile, a number of Kurdish forces in Iraq launched an operation in Sinjar in an attempt to retake that town located in northwestern Iraq after planes from the coalition pounded positions held by the Islamic State overnight.

The peshmerga fights gained during the day against the IS, said officials, by driving the militant fighters out of more than eight areas of the Zumar region which is east of Sinjar.

If the town is recaptured by the peshmerga, it would reopen a corridor into the Sinjar mountains, where a large number of Yazidis, a minority group, have been besieged since August by the IS militants.

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