The US and Iraqi authorities on Sunday condemned the killing of five Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in a roadside bombing blamed on ISIS.
The attack took place late on Saturday near the southern Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, wounding four other Peshmerga fighters and pushing top Kurdish officials to warn of the “serious threat” ISIS still poses to the region.
“The expansion and continuation of ISIS attacks sends an alarming message with real threats to the entire region,” said Nichervan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
He called for “greater cooperation and co-ordination” between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army and support from the international coalition forces, which “is of greatest urgency and highest priority".
Mr Barzani said the existing co-ordination between different security forces should be “be larger and more operative in order to confront ISIS terror networks and their threats more resolutely".
Masrour Barzani, the KRG's Prime Minister, said “we have warned time and again about the dangers posed by ISIS terrorists".
ISIS seized large areas of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.
Since 2014, the US has led an international coalition in Iraq to fight the terrorist group.
Although victory was declared in 2017, ISIS still retain sleeper cells which continue to strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.
The US Consulate in Erbil said on Sunday that it “strongly” condemned the attack and reiterated its support for Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in their fight against the terror group.
“We strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack conducted by ISIS yesterday against Peshmerga forces in the district of Kulejo in the Garmian area,” the consulate said.
The Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga ministry said the killed fighters had been on their way to reinforce another unit that had come under attack by ISIS.
After the terror group was expelled from their northern Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, they succeeded in regrouping in remote terrain claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdish region, exploiting the lack of co-ordination between Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga.
Saturday night's attack took place in one of those disputed areas.
In early November, Iraq's military said it had launched a joint operation alongside the Peshmerga forces to pursue ISIS remnants in territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.
In September, 13 policemen were killed at a checkpoint in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, an attack blamed on ISIS.
Another serious attack that was claimed by ISIS was a July bombing in the Baghdad Shiite district of Sadr City, which killed 30 people.