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 militants inflicted a humiliating defeat on Kurdish forces in a weekend sweep in the north.



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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.

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