Kirkuk: Terrorists have killed three village chiefs in less than a week in Iraq’s restive north, local officials said Saturday, as the targeting of state representatives escalates.

Iraq declared victory against Daesh last year, but small terrorist cells still wage attacks, especially in mountainous areas like the northern province of Kirkuk.

There, Daesh has attacked state infrastructure and government officials, especially targeting local administrative heads known as “mukhtars.”

The latest victim, on Friday night, was mukhtar of the village of Mahmudiya near the town of Hawija.

The town has long been a bastion of radical Sunni Muslim groups and was one of the last Daesh holdouts retaken by government troops last year.

Mahmudiya mukhtar “Abdullah Al Wasmi was executed by Daesh members who attacked his home,” a local security official said, using the Arabic acronym for Daesh.

His death followed the similar killing of the mukhtar of a nearby village, Hanutiya, late Wednesday.

And on Monday, a provincial official told AFP that “Daesh fighters attacked the home of Mohammad Jumaa, the mukhtar of the village of Jassemiya”, also near Hawija.

“They took him out of his house and executed him in front of it before fleeing,” the official said.

The recent killings bring to nine the number of village chieftains executed by Daesh in the past seven months in Kirkuk province.