At least one, perhaps two major battles have broken out in Iraqs Kurdish area, pitting PUK Kurd militiamen against Al Qaeda-linked radicals. This battle occurred near Halabja. The Al Qaeda fighters (with the Ansar al-Islami faction) attacked a hilltop position in the Suren Mountains (near the Iran-Iraq border) from the PUK and inflicted approximately 30 casualties. The Islamists had artillery support. The PUK counterattacked and drove the Ansar forces away. It appears that there were over fifty dead on both sides and many more wounded. Ansar controls several villages, and about 8,000 civilians, on the Iran border and the PUK is not willing to take the losses it would suffer to liberate the villages. The Ansar is obviously trying to extend it's control. What is interesting is, given the al Qaeda link, British or American commandos have not shown up and gotten involved.