BAGHDAD, Iraq (AFP) – A security official said Monday that four Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were killed in an ambush allegedly on the Islamic State group, the third such incident in less than two weeks.

According to the source, five additional peshmerga fighters were injured in the violence in northern Iraq late Sunday that attacked an outpost north of Kirkuk.

In a statement accusing IS of responsibility, Kurdish army forces acknowledged the devastating strike but did not specify how many peshmerga troops were killed or injured.

It was the third attack on Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq attributed on IS militants in less than two weeks.

IS claimed credit for an attack south of Arbil, the Kurdish capital, on Thursday, in which at least nine peshmerga fighters and three civilians were killed.

Five peshmergas were murdered in a roadside explosion claimed by the terrorist organisation at the end of November.

IS launched a rapid onslaught in Iraq in 2014, capturing large swaths of the country before being driven back by a counter-insurgency operation backed by a US-led military coalition.

Although the Iraqi government proclaimed the Sunni extremists vanquished in late 2017, the IS still has sleeper cells that carry out hit-and-run operations against security troops.

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