Members of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division are photographed with an Islamic State flag, claimed after fighting with Islamic State militants in western Mosul. File picture: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Baghdad — Islamic State militants killed 12 members of the same family, including women and children, in an attack on their northern village home Saturday, an Iraqi official said.

Ammar Hekmat, the deputy governor of the Salahuddin province, confirmed the attack early in the village of al-Farahatiyah. It was not immediately clear why the family was targeted.

Iraqi forces have driven IS from virtually all the territory it once controlled, but the group has continued carrying out sporadic attacks, mainly targeting security forces.

"We're not sure if one of the family members was a police officer, but IS has a presence in desert areas like Salahuddin, Mosul and Diyala," an Iraqi intelligence official said. "They carry out attacks in villages outside the cities to scare families and remind them they are still there."

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

AP