Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) Four Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed and wounded on Friday when Islamic State militant ambushed them at an area east of Salahuddin.
A security source told Baghdad Today that IS members attacked a Peshmerga patrol in al-Touz region, east of the province, killing an officer and two lower-ranking soldiers, and wounding a fourth officer.
Islamic State militants continue to step up attacks against security forces even after they lost their biggest stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, which Iraqi forces recaptured last month, marking a symbolic collapse of the group’s “caliphate” proclaimed in 2014.
The Iraqi government plans to aim at the few remaining IS havens in the country, including Salahuddin. Official statements suggest that the next target for operations would be the IS stronghold town of Tal Afar, west of Nineveh.
Peshmerga fighters have been part of the U.S.-backed military campaign to retake IS-held areas which launched in October. Their participation has not, however, been free of tensions as the Kurdistan Region Government and Baghdad engaged in occasional diplomatic spats over Peshemrga’s deployment at liberated areas for which both governments claim sovereignty.
Violence and armed conflicts left more than 500 dead and wounded in Iraq during July, according to a monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).