Three Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed and five were wounded on Saturday when an explosive device blew up near their vehicle south of the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, security sources said.
The explosion happened in Daquq, a region bordering Daesh areas, the sources said.
It took place as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prepares for a referendum on Monday on independence for the region under its control in northern Iraq, including Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic region also claimed by the central government in Baghdad.
Turkey strongly believes that the referendum could potentially stir further conflicts in Kirkuk and the region. Even though Ankara has enjoyed beneficial relations with the KRG in the fields of security and energy, Ankara is against the participation of the Kirkuk province in the KRG referendum.
The disputed, oil-rich province of Kirkuk is not part of the KRG according to the Iraqi constitution and Turkey also underscored that it would not allow a fait accompli by the KRG.