By Ahmed Rasheed and Isra' al-Rubei'i BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Kurdish forces attacked Islamic State fighters near the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil in northern Iraq on Wednesday in a change of tactics supported by the Iraqi central government to try to break the Islamists' momentum. The attack 40 km (25 miles) southwest of Arbil came after the Sunni militants inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Kurds on Sunday with a rapid advance through three towns, prompting Iraq's prime minister to order his air force for the first time to back the Kurdish forces. "We have changed our tactics from being defensive to being offensive. Now we are clashing with the Islamic State in Makhmur," said Jabbar Yawar, secretary-general of the ministry in charge of the Kurdish peshmerga fighters. The location of the clashes puts the Islamic State fighters closer than they have ever been to the Kurdish semi-autonomous region since they swept through northern Iraq almost unopposed in June. Shortly after that lightning advance, thousands of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers fled. Kurdish fighters, who boast of their battles against Saddam Hussein's forces, stepped in as did Iranian-trained Shi'ite militias. But the Islamic State gunmen's defeat of the peshmerga, whose name means "those who confront death", has called into question their reputation as fearsome warriors. The Islamic State poses the biggest threat to Iraq's security since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The group, which believes Shi'ites are infidels who deserve to be killed, has won the support of some Sunnis who don't agree with their ideology but share a fierce determination to topple Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Maliki, a Shi'ite, is seen as an authoritarian figure with a sectarian agenda whose alienation of Sunnis is destabilizing. DARK DAYS Iraq, an OPEC member, has returned to the dark days of 2006-2007 when a civil war peaked. Bombings, kidnappings and executions have again become part of daily life. On Wednesday, 60 people were killed by an Iraqi government air strike on a Sharia court set up by Islamic State militants in a juvenile prison in Mosul, the office of Maliki's military spokesman said. The Islamic State judge who ran the court, which routinely orders beheadings, was among those killed in the northern Iraqi city, the spokesman said. Hospital officials and witnesses said earlier the strike killed 50 people in a prison set up by the Islamic State, making no mention of the court. In Baghdad, car bombs exploded in crowded markets in several Shi'ite districts, killing 47 people, police said. A roadside bomb killed three Shi'ites who volunteered to fight the Islamic State on a road between the town of Samarra and Mosul, a police official said. In Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, authorities found the bodies of six people who had been handcuffed and shot in the head and chest execution-style, medical sources said. The Islamic State has declared a 'caliphate' in swathes of Iraq and Syria that it controls and threatens to march on Baghdad. Islamic State fighters and their Sunni militant and tribal allies also hold parts of western Iraq. Maliki has ordered his air force to help the Kurds in their fight against the Islamic State, which seized an array of weapons including tanks and anti-aircraft guns from the Iraqi soldiers who fled in June. Maliki was at odds with the Kurds over oil, budgets and land, but both sides put their differences aside, alarmed by the Islamic State's latest gains - a fifth oilfield and three more towns in the north. The group also reached Iraq's biggest dam. Yawar confirmed the Kurds had re-established military cooperation with Baghdad. "The peshmerga ministry sent a message to the Iraqi defense ministry requesting the convening of an urgent meeting on military cooperation. The joint committees have been reactivated," Yawar said by telephone. MALIKI Maliki, who has been serving in a caretaker capacity since an inconclusive election in April, has rejected calls by Kurds, Sunnis, some fellow Shi'ites and even regional power-broker Iran to step aside and make room for a less polarizing figure. In his weekly televised address to the nation on Wednesday, he warned that any unconstitutional attempt to form a new government would open "the gates of hell" in Iraq. Maliki rejected any outside interference in the process, an apparent reference to Tehran, which Iranian officials have said believes Maliki can no longer hold Iraq together. Iran is now backing calls by Iraq's top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for Maliki to go and is looking for an alternative leader to combat the Sunni Islamist insurgency, the Iranian officials said. The United States, which was a key backer of Maliki when he first came to office as an unknown in 2006, has urged Iraqi politicians to form a more inclusive government that can unify Iraqis and take on the Islamic State. The Islamic State has put Iraq's survival as a unified state in jeopardy. The capture of one of the towns, Sinjar, home to many of Iraq's Yazidi minority sect in a weekend offensive could lead to a humanitarian crisis. Yazidis, ethnic Kurds who follow an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism, are at high risk of being executed because the Islamic State militants view them as devil worshippers. Yawar said 50,000 Yazidis now hiding on a mountain risked starving to death if they were not rescued within 24 hours. "Urgent international action is needed to save them. Many of them, mainly the elderly, children and pregnant women, have (already) died," he said. "We can't stop the Islamic State from attacking the people on the mountain because there is one paved road leading up to the mountain and it can be used by them. They (Islamic State fighters) are trying to get to that road." (Additional reporting by David Sheppard in London; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- Business Insider
America isn't running out of everything just because of a supply-chain crisis. America is running out of everything because Americans are buying so much stuff.
Claims that the US is running short on everything miss a key point. Record imports are part of the reason for the epic supply-chain congestion.
The White House press secretary asked the Fox News reporter a question he couldn't answer.
The articles were discovered during a search of Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Florida. Laundrie is the only person of interest in Gabby Petito's death.
'Too Hot to Handle' star Harry Jowsey says he knew he got busted receiving oral sex as it was happening because he saw 'like 65 cameras' swerve on him to film it
Jowsey said there were "like 65 cameras" in his room on the show, including some right above his bed, in order to catch contestants in the act.
- NBC Sports Boston
Umpires are going to get calls wrong, but 21 of them? In an ALCS game? The Red Sox' issues with balls and strikes last night were legitimate, and this graphic proves it.
- Washington Examiner
A news station in Washington state has exposed itself to possible fines after broadcasting a short clip of pornography during its evening news broadcast.
Being the middle child, even in the royal family, might seem like a drag from time to time. But it seems like Princess Charlotte is doing pretty well for herself. The 6-year-old daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton has already reached quite a few milestones this year, and she’s reportedly poised to be named […]
- Women's Health
Fiona Apple Quit Cocaine After An 'Excruciating' Night With Quentin Tarantino And Paul Thomas Anderson
Fiona Apple says she quit doing cocaine after an excruciating night with Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Angelina Jolie plays Thena — a warrior with immense strength, speed and stamina — in Eternals
Items belonging to Brian Laundrie found off a trail at a Florida park after his parents join the search
Laundrie's possessions were found near a trail that he often visited during a search on Wednesday, according to the family's lawyer.
- E! News
After the birth of her son Rennie, Katharine McPhee feels appreciation for her body. In an exclusive interview with E! News, the new mom got candid about shifting away from her old habits.
- CBS News
The manhunt for Laundrie, who is named a person of interest in the disappearance of his late fiancée Gabby Petito, has stretched on for weeks.
- Good Housekeeping
'Live! With Kelly and Ryan' fans could not get over Kelly Ripa's amazing on-air dress, which the show posted about on Instagram.
The NBA legend praised the Brooklyn Nets for benching Irving and slammed comparisons with boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
A source confirmed to PEOPLE in July that the couple had been dating for a "few months" after they sat courtside together at an NBA game in Phoenix
- Entertainment Weekly
Nia DaCosta has some strong opinions on who's responsible for Thanos' snap in Infinity War.
- Rolling Stone
The former president is jealous of how the media is covering the late Republican's death
- Dolphins Wire
The Hall of Fame wideout has seen enough of the second-year quarterback.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
In the Texas Panhandle, a huge family-owned ranch officially hits the real estate market this week. “It is simply a one of one, and possibly the last of the great ones.”
- Business Insider
Joey Holz, whose experiment went viral, told Insider he specifically applied to businesses that were publicly complaining of a worker shortage.