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4 Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed, 5 wounded in attack blamed on Islamic State

Kurdish forces do not say how troops were killed in assault on outpost north of Kirkuk; it is 3rd attack on fighters blamed on IS jihadists in less than 2 weeks

Illustrative - In this file photo taken on November 17, 2016, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand on a sand barrier created by Kurdish forces to demarcate their border, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
Illustrative - In this file photo taken on November 17, 2016, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand on a sand barrier created by Kurdish forces to demarcate their border, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Four Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were killed in an attack blamed on the Islamic State group, a security official said Monday, the third such assault in less than two weeks.

Five other peshmerga fighters were wounded in the violence late Sunday in northern Iraq that targeted an outpost north of Kirkuk, the source said.

Kurdish army forces confirmed the deadly attack but did not say how peshmerga fighters were killed in wounded, in a statement accusing IS of responsibility.

It was the third attack blamed on IS jihadists in less than two weeks against the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.

On Thursday, IS claimed responsibility for an assault south of the Kurdish capital of Arbil that killed at least nine peshmerga fighters and three civilians.

At the end of November, five peshmergas were killed in a roadside bombing also claimed by the jihadist group.

IS seized swaths of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.

The Iraqi government declared the Sunni extremists defeated in late 2017, although the IS retains sleeper cells that still strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.

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