KIRKUK, Iraq – Thirteen Iraqi police were killed in an Islamic State group attack on a checkpoint in the north of the country early Sunday, security and medical sources said.
A senior Iraqi police official told AFP the attack took place in the al-Rashad area, about five kilometers (miles0 miles) south of the city of Kirkuk.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said members of the Islamic State group had targeted a federal police checkpoint.
Thirteen members of the security forces were killed and three others were injured.
A medical source based in Kirkuk confirmed the casualties.
There was no immediate demand for accountability.
IS captured a large part of Iraq in a lightning strike in 2014 before being beaten to death in a US-led military-backed counter-insurgency operation.
The Iraqi government declared defeat for Sunni extremists in late 2017, but they held on to sleeper cells that continued to carry out unprovoked attacks on security forces.
Jihadi cells regularly target Iraqi army and police in northern Iraq, but the attack was the deadliest this year.
A bomb blast near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 10 people.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) currently has about 3,500 troops in Iraq, including 2,500 US troops.
But Washington is reducing its military presence in attacks on facilities used by Iran-backed armed groups and says the role of U.S. troops will be limited to training and advising their Iraqi counterparts from next year.
Last Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Iraqi Kurdistan and expressed concern about the “resurgence” of IS in both Iraq and Syria.
He added that French troops stationed in Iraq as part of an international coalition would remain in the country “no matter what the Americans like.”