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Iraq: Islamic State launches deadly attack in village while seizing another

At least five people - including four Peshmerga soldiers - were killed in one attack, while the IS group took control of another village located between Erbil and Kirkuk
Peshmerga forces attend a handover and US military and logistic assistance distribution ceremony to the Peshmerga Ministry of the KRG in Erbil on 10 November 2020 (AFP/File photo)

Islamic State (IS) group fighters killed four Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers and a civilian, and wounded six other people in an attack in northern Iraq, security sources said on Sunday.

The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said in a statement that the attack, which took place near Qara Salem village, caused casualties, but did not confirm the toll.

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One Peshmerga colonel, speaking to Reuters news agency, said IS group fighters were using hit-and-run tactics in night attacks on their positions.

"They avoid holding the ground for longer time ... More reinforcement forces were dispatched to the area to prevent further attacks," the colonel said.

Iraqi security force units have been mobilised to the area to help support the Peshmerga, said an Iraqi military source.

The Peshmerga are the main military force of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which rules a semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq. 

Last week, a suspected IS attack killed five Iraqi Kurdish security officials in a roadside bombing south of the KRG city of Sulaimaniyah.

At the time, the region's prime minister, Masrour Barzani, warned that the IS group remains a "serious threat" to the Kurdistan region several years after its official territorial defeat. 

IS group takes Liheban village

Also on Sunday, IS also took over Liheban village in northern Iraq a day after attacking it, security sources told Reuters. The village is located on a highway that links KRG capital Erbil to the city of Kirkuk, an important and contested city about 60 miles south. 

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There was no immediate confirmation from Iraqi authorities.

Middle East Eye requested comment from the US Defense Department, which heads an 83-member anti-IS coalition in the region, as well as the US State Department, but did not receive a response by the time of this article's publication. 

The two villages are in remote territory claimed by the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the KRG in Erbil.

While the areas have seen regular attacks by the IS group, it is rare - since its 2019 territorial defeat - for IS forces to control a residential area near a main road as it has. 

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