Three militants loyal to the Islamic State group (ISIS) have been killed by wild boars as they planned to ambush Iraqi tribesmen opposed to the group, according to a local anti-ISIS leader.
At least eight ISIS fighters had reportedly taken cover among dense reeds in Iraq's al-Rashad region, about 55 miles southwest of Kirkuk, in preparation for a surprise attack on local anti-ISIS tribesman when a herd of wild boars attacked the jihadists on Sunday, killing three. The militants likely disturbed the notoriously short-tempered animals, said Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and head of the group of local tribesmen who took up arms after ISIS took control of the nearby town of Hawija.
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“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields. The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in,” Assi told The Times.
The event was corroborated by local Kurdish fighters who have joined Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militias in attempting to oust ISIS from nearby Hawija. The jihadists' mutilated bodies were reportedly discovered by refugees fleeing the violence that has beset the war-torn nation. An alliance consisting of Iraqi military, majority Shiite Muslim militias (called Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi), U.S.-led coalition forces and Kurdish units (known as peshmerga) are seeking to drive ISIS out of Iraq, according to Brigadier Azad Jelal, the deputy head of the Kurdish intelligence service in Kirkuk.
“Three fighters from ISIL were near the Peshmerga checkpoint in al-Rashad. They met some feral boars and the boars killed the three fighters,” Jelal told The Telegraph, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.
“Some refugees saw the bodies on the edge of a farm when they were fleeing and they told us. A few days later ISIL started to kill pigs around the area," he added.
The news first appeared on the local Iraqi news site Al-Sumeria, which quoted unidentified local sources, and later gained attention on social media as officials confirmed the event. While fatalities caused by wild boars are relatively uncommon in the region, the animals are known for their relentless, ferocious attacks that can result in death, according to a 2006 article titled "Death by attack from a wild boar" published in the Journal of Forensic Medicine.
"The boar has a typical method of attack wherein it steadily rushes forward, pointing the tusks towards the animal to be attacked and inflicts the injuries. It goes back, takes position and attacks the victim again. This repeated nature of attack continues till the victim is completely incapacitated due to multiple penetrating injuries, which can have a fatal consequence," the authors wrote.
Sunday's incident reportedly came after ISIS massacred at least 25 local civilians attempting to escape areas under the jihadists' control. As pro-government forces close in, ISIS's territory, which is down to less than seven percent of the nation from 45 percent in 2014, has been largely reduced to the northwestern city of Mosul, where a months-long battle has been waged by the Iraqi military and its allies to defeat the jihadists. The militants still maintain small pockets of control in southern Kirkuk.
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