An Iraqi soldier was killed and an officer wounded during a counter-terrorism raid in Iraq that also killed three suspected Islamic State group fighters, Baghdad’s security forces said.
Sunday’s military operation in Kirkuk province, north of the Iraqi capital, targeted “three figures of the terrorist group Daesh in the Turkelan region,” the security forces said in a statement, using the Arab acronym for IS jihadists.
After the suspected IS members were identified, Iraqi troops approached, and a clash erupted, added the statement late Sunday.
The jihadists “were surrounded and killed, the explosive belts they were wearing were detonated,” it said.
IS jihadists seized swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” which they ruled with brutality before their defeat in late 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led military coalition.
Despite the setbacks, the extremist group can still call on an underground network of fighters to carry out attacks on both sides of the porous border, the United Nations says.
On June 11, three Iraqi soldiers were killed and four others wounded in a pre-dawn attack west of Kirkuk blamed on IS.
In April, the international coalition set up to fight the Sunni Muslim extremists said there had been a reduction in IS attacks in both Iraq and Syria.
In March, a senior Iraqi military official said IS had between 400 and 500 active fighters in the Shiite-majority country.