KIRKUK— A group from the Islamic State (IS) militants was targeted early Friday by the warplanes of the anti-IS US-led global coalition near Hawija district, south of Kirkuk.

The militants had gathered in Sheikh Burhan village of Hawija district. They had been planning to carry out an offensive against the Peshmerga forces in southern Kirkuk.

The airstrikes resulted in the elimination of at least 20 extremists, according to military sources.

Militants from Hawija, the last IS-held area in Kirkuk, frequently direct attacks against Kirkuk. The officials of Kirkuk have repeatedly stated that the city remains unsafe as long as IS holds Hawija. The operation to liberate the district was slated to begin before Mosul, but later the battle was postponed.