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. […]