This Rudaw file photo shows the late Hisammadin Najmaldin in May 2015.
KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region - A number of ISIS militants wearing Peshmerga clothing stormed a village near Daquq town in southern Kirkuk, killing several people.
A Rudaw reporter said early Thursday morning the militants had attacked the house of a Kakei Kurd in the village of Liheb resulting in the deaths of four people.
ISIS targeted the house of Hisammadin Najmaldin. After confrontations, Najmaldin and an Arab working for him as a shepherd were killed outdoors, Rudaw has learned. A spouse of Najmaldin and his mother were killed indoors.
Liheb village lies in a remote area in south Daquq. Only two families live in the village.
Five people in total are also reported missing, possibly taken hostage by the group.
"Because of the Kakeis' religion and ethnicity we are being targeted," Farhad al-Kakaye an instructor at Erbil International University told Rudaw English.
Kakaye believes the trend will continue because of ISIS fortifying its stronghold of Hawija west of Kirkuk.
"Nowadays ISIS has been finished off in Mosul and they are focusing on Hawija, so yes I think we will continue to face attacks," he explained.
The Kakeis with unique spiritual beliefs are ethnically Kurdish with roots that straddle the borders between modern day Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan. They have been targeted by ISIS since 2014. Many now live near Kirkuk, Khanaqin, and in the Nineveh Plains. They have fought alongside Kurdish Peshmerga.
This is not the first such attack that ISIS has launched on southern Kirkuk's villages. Two weeks ago, the group stormed Cahirakh village in Dubiz capturing five and killing five.
ISIS has lost complete control of Mosul and large swathes of territory in Iraq’s Nineveh province. Over the past few months, the extremist group has accelerated its attacks in Kirkuk region targeting Peshmerga positions and villagers.
Kurdish leaders have repeatedly said the longer ISIS is allowed to control Hawija, a town west of Kirkuk, the greater threat it poses to Kirkuk and its surroundings. Yet no timeframe has been announced to launch the long-awaited and delayed offensive to evict ISIS from Kirkuk province once and for all.
ISIS still enjoys a considerable amount of control over territory in northern Iraq despite major setbacks the group has recently suffered at the hands of Iraqi armed forces. The extremist group still holds Tal Afar west of Mosul, Ana, Qaim, Rawa, and segments of territories in Rutba, as well as the Qaim border crossing in Anbar, Rashad, Riyaz, some five hundred villages in Kirkuk, and a number of villages and areas in western Diyala province.
Updated at 9:50 a.m.