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Iraq Kurdish security forces killed in suspected Islamic State attack

Iraqi Kurdish PM Masrour Barzani said the attack underlined the 'serious threat' the militant group still posed to the region
A member of the Iraqi Kurdish Asayish security organisation at a checkpoint in the city of Sulaimaniyah, in the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq on 14 March 2020 (AFP)

A suspected Islamic State (IS) attack has killed five Iraqi Kurdish security officials south of the city of Sulaimaniyah, regional authorities said on Sunday.

The Saturday evening roadside bombing underlined the "serious threat" IS still poses to the Kurdistan region four years after the Iraqi government declared victory over the militant group, the region's prime minister Masrour Barzani said.

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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 IS fighters.

"We have warned time and again about the dangers posed by the Islamic State group terrorists," Barzani said.

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

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

IS 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 IS defeated in late 2017, but the militants retain sleeper cells which continue to strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.