Iraq: Islamic State militants extend gains

The advance came after the Sunni fighters inflicted a humiliating defeat on Kurdish forces.

The Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria it controls, clashed with Kurdish forces on Wednesday. Picture: AFP.

BAGHDAD - Islamic State militants extended their gains in northern Iraq on Thursday, seizing three more towns and gaining a foothold near the Kurdish region, witnesses said.

The advance came after the Sunni fighters inflicted a humiliating defeat on Kurdish forces in a weekend sweep in the north.

The Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria it controls, clashed with Kurdish forces on Wednesday in the town of Makhmur near Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish semi-autonomous zone.

In the latest advance, its fighters seized Makhmur and the mainly Christian town of Tilkaif, as well as Al Kwair, witnesses said.