IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — An attack by Islamic State militants on a village in northern Iraq killed at least 12 people, including a number of Kurdish forces, Kurdish media reported Friday.
The attack took place late Thursday in a village in the Makhmour region, triggering a confrontation with Kurdish peshmerga forces. Among the dead were nine peshmerga and three civilians, private broadcaster Rudaw said on its website.
Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, offered condolences to the families of the dead in a statement Friday. He said IS has become “a real threat” in territories disputed between the Kurdish region and the federal government in Baghdad.
This requires “strong and firm cooperation between the Peshmerga, the Iraqi army and the (U.S.-led) international coalition as soon as possible,” to stop IS expansion and organization.
Makhmour is located across a band of disputed territory in northern Iraq where IS militants have exploited security gaps to launch attacks.
There was no claim by Islamic State militants for Thursday night’s attack and details were not immediately available.
IS was defeated on the battlefield in 2017 but attacks targeting Iraqi security forces — including Kurdish peshmerga fighters — remain common. Militants are still active through sleeper cells in many areas, especially across a band of territory in the north under dispute between federal Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
The U.S.-led coalition to defeat IS has announced the end of its combat mission and said troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of December. Advisers will remain to continue to train Iraqi forces.