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