Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Islamic State militants ambushed a convoy and killed at least 27 Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces fighters in Iraq, the militia said.
The PMF said IS set up a fake checkpoint by disguising themselves as police officers and using poor weather conditions to carry out the ambush in Kirkuk province Sunday.
IS took responsibility for the ambush in its own statement, saying it killed 20 Iraqi security personnel and burnt five vehicles.
Iraqi forces including the PMF launched a military offensive to establish control of a mountainous area near Kirkuk to transport oil from Iraq to Iran.
PMF commander Ali al-Husseini said signs indicate that some personnel were still hiding or were captured by IS.
"The region is completely cordoned. Searching efforts are ongoing. The accident took place while it was raining. It was in the dark. We need more hours to know if there are personnel still alive. Maybe some of them are captured or hiding," he said.