Five Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on ISIS

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Five Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were killed and four wounded in a roadside bombing blamed on ISIS, regional authorities said on Sunday.

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The Saturday evening bombing south of the city of Sulaimaniyah underlined the “serious threat” ISIS still poses to the Kurdistan region four years after the Iraqi government declared victory over the extremists, the region’s prime minister Masrour Barzani said.

The region’s peshmerga ministry said the slain fighters who were hit had been on their way to reinforce comrades who had come under attack by ISIS fighters.

“We have warned time and again about the dangers posed by the [ISIS] terrorists,” Barzani said.

The last major attack blamed on ISIS in Iraq was an assault on a checkpoint south of Kirkuk that killed 13 policemen in September.

The last major attack claimed by ISIS was a July bombing in the Baghdad Shia district of Sadr City, which killed 30 people.

ISIS seized swathes 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 extremists defeated in late 2017, but the jihadists retain sleeper cells which continue to strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.

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