ISIS forces in northern Iraq briefly took control over the village of Tal Kusaiba, just east of Tikrit, today in a surprise offensive, killing the police chief and nine fighters from various militias supporting the defense of the Sunni village. The village was recovered later in the day in an offensive by the military and Badr Brigade.
Iraqi officials say they exploited a weak spot in the mountain ranges nearby to sneak forces into the village and around large forces trying to advance up the riverfront. The attack does not appear to have been a serious attempt to seize the village long-term, and nor do they appear to have tried to seriously defend it.
This is in keeping with ISIS “hit-and-run” tactics, both attempting to slow the offensive along the river by forcing some of the troops to double-back and re-capture the village, and to try to make a wider and wider front for the Iraqi security forces to try to defend.
This has proven particularly effective in the past, with ISIS often capturing villages briefly to greatly extend their front against the Kurdish Peshmerga, and taking advantage of that to prevent counterattacks from gaining momentum.
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