Eight to nine federal policemen were killed and two others wounded on Sunday in a bomb blast in a village of Riyadh subdistrict of southern Kirkuk, security sources told KirkukNow.
The incident occurred when a roadside bomb exploded while a convoy of federal police forces was driving, a senior security source in the area told KirkukNow.
"One of the unknown militants was killed and eight federal policemen were killed in the explosion," the source said.
Meanwhile, a civil intelligence officer confirmed the incident to KirkukNow, saying nine federal policemen were killed and two others wounded.
Nine federal policemen were killed and two others wounded
A military operation has been launched in the area and a number of weapons have been recovered from the scene, he added.
The incident occurred in the village of Safra in Riyadh district in the direction of the Hamrin mountain range.
The area was under the control of the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS between June 2014 up to October 2017 when the Iraqi government declared victory over ISIS and the Iraqi Security Forces ISF launched imposing law operation, ousting the Kurdish Peshmerga from the disputed territories.
Since the end of IS in Iraq, due to its geographical location, the area has always been a safe haven for the remnants and sleeper cells of IS, but it is still unclear whether the bomb was planted by remnants of ISIS.
Sleeper cells and resistant pockets of IS are regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil where neither ISF nor those of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR are deployed.
They are posing a high threat by different tactics such as hit-and-run attacks, kidnappings, snipers, IED and roadside bombs targeting the Iraqi forces and civilians.
ISIS took large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria in 2014. Following a series of bloody offensives against it, the armed group lost its territorial control in Iraq and Syria and was effectively defeated in 2017, the Iraqi government declared.
However, having changed its strategies, ISIS still poses a threat in several provinces in Iraq, particularly the disputed territories which ranges from Khanaqin northeast of Baghdad on the border with Iran across the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk up to Shingal (Sinar) district of Ninewa province at the west on the borders with Syria.
Meanwhile, the territorial disputes between Baghdad and Erbil, coupled with a lack of coordination between Kurdish forces and their counterparts in Baghdad, have contributed to a security vacuum that has been increasingly exploited by ISIS.