A terrorist attack attributed to the Daesh terrorist group left 13 federal police officers dead in the countryside of the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, security officals said Sunday.
The attack late Saturday on the checkpoint in Satiha village located in the region of al-Rashad around 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of downtown Kirkuk also wounded five police.
A security official told the Associated Press (AP) that the clashes with the militants lasted for nearly an hour. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
A medical source based in Kirkuk also confirmed the toll to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The terrorist group did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack. But northern Iraq has been a hotspot for Daesh activity since its territorial defeat in 2017 by Iraqi security forces with assistance from the U.S.-led coalition.
Police sources told Reuters that the attackers clashed for two hours with police stationed at the village, using roadside bombs to prevent police reinforcements from reaching the post and destroying three police vehicles.
Separately, at least three Iraqi soldiers were killed and one was wounded on Sunday when gunmen attacked an army checkpoint southeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul, security sources said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks in a statement released on Sunday and offered condolences to the Iraqi people and government.
Iraqi forces routinely carry out anti-Daesh operations in the rugged mountainous northern region and the deserts of western Iraq where they are known to be holed up.
Daesh attacks have abated in recent years but continue in these areas where security forces are often the target of ambushes, raids and roadside bombs.
A July 19 bombing claimed by Daesh officially killed 30 people in the Woheilat market in Sadr City, a Shiite suburb of Baghdad.
International coalition troops in Iraq currently number around 3,500, of which 2,500 are U.S. troops. But Washington has been drawing down its military presence amid attacks on facilities it uses by Iran-aligned armed groups and has said that from next year the role of U.S. troops will be limited to training and advising their Iraqi counterparts.
Last Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Iraqi Kurdistan and expressed concern about an Daesh "resurgence" in both Iraq and Syria. He also said that French soldiers deployed in Iraq as part of the international coalition will remain in the country "no matter what choices the Americans make."