IS Roadside Bomb in Iraq Leaves 5 Peshmerga Dead, 4 Wounded

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A roadside bomb attack by Islamic State group fighters in northern Iraq killed five Kurdish forces and wounded four others, Kurdish state news agency Rudaw reported Sunday.

The peshmerga fighters were killed in the Garmian district in Iraq's Kurdish-run north late Saturday. IS militants then attacked a peshmerga post, wounding four, according to the report.

Attacks targeting Iraqi security forces, including Kurdish peshmerga fighters, are common and have been on the rise since IS was defeated on the battlefield in 2017. Militants remain active through sleeper cells in many areas, especially across a band of territory in the north under dispute between federal Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

Militants from IS, a Sunni Muslim extremist group, still conduct operations, often targeting security forces, power stations and other infrastructure.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani offered condolences to the families of the dead Sunday.

"The increase in the (IS) attacks sends a dangerous and serious message and brings forth a serious threat in the region. Therefore, further cooperation between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi security forces with support from the global coalition is an urgent need," he said in a statement.

The U.S.-led coalition to defeat IS announced the end of its combat mission and said troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of December. Advisers will remain to continue to train Iraqi forces.