SINJAR, Iraq—The Kurdish fighters who recently captured this city were impressed to glimpse for themselves a warren of tunnels and underground bomb shelters built by now-vanquished Islamic State occupiers, describing it as a feat of engineering.
The extremist group, which captured the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar in August 2014, has built tunnels in other parts of Syria and Iraq where it administers a self-declared caliphate. But Sinjar is one of the few places where Islamic State has been forced to retreat, offering outsiders a rare view of how the group marries meticulous planning with brutal tactics, such as using the local population as slave labor to fortify conquered territory.
“There are so many tunnels we can’t count them,” Kurdish Yazidi officer Maj. Hussein Khuru Murad said Monday. “This one let them go in and out of a shop on the street, and then make their way to a bomb factory,” he added, pointing to an entrance in the city center.
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