Battle of Kirkuk (2016)

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Battle of Kirkuk (2016)
Part of the Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)
Kirkuk in Iraq.svg
Location within Iraq
Date21–24 October 2016[1]
(3 days)

Kurdish government victory

  • ISIL captured more than 4 buildings
  • Security forces recaptured all buildings; most ISIL militants killed



 Islamic State
Commanders and leaders
Iraqi Kurdistan Brig. Simko Rabati[2]
(Kirkuk security commander)
Iraqi Kurdistan Idris Rafaat[2]
(Kirkuk security official)
Iraqi Kurdistan Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir[2]
(suburban police chief)
Iraqi Kurdistan Polad Talabani[3]
(Peshmerga Counterterrorism Group commander)
Iraqi Kurdistan Lahur Talabani[3]
(head of Zanyari)[4]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Islam (POW)[3]
(operations leader)[1]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Qudama [5]
(Kirkuk raid commander)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Nizar Mahmud Abdul Ghani (POW)[6]
Units involved

 Iraqi Kurdistan

IraqMOILogo.png Ministry of Interior

Kirkuk civilian vigilantes[7]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Military of ISIL

Unknown 100 militants[1]
Casualties and losses
76 killed[3] 84 killed[3] and several captured[1]
21 civilians killed, 265+ security forces members and civilians wounded overall[3]

The Battle of Kirkuk was a raid and a suicide attack on the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq by ISIL. The attack came less than a week after the beginning of the Battle of Mosul launched by Iraqi security forces and allies.

The battle[edit]

On 21 October 2016, dozens of ISIL militants and suicide bombers, supported by local sleeper cells,[1] entered Kirkuk and stormed a power station and police stations in the city, killing 18 members of security forces and power station workers, including 2–5[9] Iranian workers. The ISIL militants captured a mosque and an abandoned hotel and barricaded themselves inside.[10] Hours later, ISIL captured 2 more hotels and holed themselves in. Over 20 ISIL militants were killed,[9] as security forces recaptured most of the buildings.[2]

By the next day, ISIL forces still held parts of the Aruba District and a hotel,[7] though these were retaken later on. Government forces then began a mop-up operation to clear the city of remaining militants, with some of the latter blowing themselves as they were cornered.[11] Many local civilians had also taken up arms, hunting, capturing and killing ISIL fighters.[7]

On 23 October, several remaining ISIL attackers attempted to flee the city, with five being killed[12] and the ISIL operations leader captured by security forces.[1] On 24 October, the last ISIL fighters in Kirkuk were killed, including the raid commander Abu Qudama, a senior ISIL military figure of Hawija,[5] so that the governor of Kirkuk, Nadschmeddin Karim, could declare the city completely cleared of militants.[1] On the next day, security forces arrested Nizar Mahmud Abdul Ghani, a cousin of former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, for having participated in the Kirkuk raid.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "IRAQI FORCES KILL 74 ISIS FIGHTERS IN KIRKUK, ENDING THREE-DAY ASSAULT". Newsweek. 24 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "LIVE UPDATES: ISIS attacks Kirkuk". Rudaw. 22 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Michael R. Gordon (29 October 2016). "Seeking Clues to ISIS Strategy in Corpses and Cellphones Left in Kirkuk". New York Times.
  4. ^ "Lahur Talabani". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
  5. ^ a b c "Islamic State militants behind Kirkuk attack arrested, ringleader killed". ARA News. 25 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Saddam's cousin arrested for participating in ISIS attack on Kirkuk". Iraqi News. 25 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "ISIS attacks Kirkuk in attempt to delay Hawija operation, distract Mosul campaign". ARA News. 22 October 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b "Peshmerga and security repel multiple IS attacks in Kirkuk". Kurdistan 24. 21 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Islamic State attacks Kirkuk as Iraqi forces push on Mosul". Reuters. 21 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Iraqi forces hunt IS militants in Kirkuk". SBS. 22 October 2016.
  12. ^ "5 ISIS members killed while trying to flee south of Kirkuk". Iraqi News. 23 October 2016.

Coordinates: 35°28′12″N 44°23′45″E / 35.4700°N 44.3958°E / 35.4700; 44.3958