Thirteen Iraqi police officers were killed Sunday morning in an attack by an ISIS group on a checkpoint in the north of the country, security and medical sources said.
The attack, in the region of Al-Rashad, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of the city of Kirkuk, took place just after midnight, a senior Iraqi police officer told AFP.
“Members of the ISIS organization were targeted by a federal police checkpoint,” said the officer, who declined to be named.
“Thirteen dead and three injured” among the security forces, the officer added.
A medical source in Kirkuk confirmed the toll.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
ISIS captured parts of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by an anti-insurgency campaign backed by a US-led military coalition.
The Iraqi government declared the Sunni extremists defeated in late 2017, but they still maintain sleeper cells that continue to hit security forces with asymmetric attacks.
Jihadist cells regularly target the Iraqi military and police in northern Iraq, but this attack was one of the deadliest this year.
A July 19 bomb attack claimed by ISIS officially killed 30 people in the Al-Woheilat market in Sadr City, a Shia suburb of Baghdad.
International coalition forces in Iraq currently number about 3,500, of which 2,500 are US troops.
But Washington has scaled down its military presence amid attacks on facilities it uses by Iran-affiliated armed groups and has said that from next year the role of US troops will be limited to training and advising their Iraqi counterparts.
Last Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Iraqi Kurdistan and expressed concern about a “resurgence” of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
He also said French soldiers deployed to Iraq as part of the international coalition will remain in the country “regardless of what choices the Americans make”.