Nouri al-Maliki statement
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the death of Maj. Gen. Negm Adbullah Ali in a statement. Reuters

A senior Iraqi general was killed in a battle with Sunni insurgents near Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Negm Abdullah Ali, the commander of the Iraq army's sixth division, which includes Baghdad, “met martyrdom on the battlefield as he was fighting … terrorists,” the statement said, according to Reuters. The statement said Ali was killed "when mortar rounds fell" near Ibrahim bin Ali, about 10 miles northwest of Baghdad. Heavy fighting between insurgents and Iraqi security forces has been occurring in Ibahim bin Ali for months after the fighters, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), took control of Fallujah in January.

Ali was killed a day after a 12-year-old girl was killed and eight other civilians were wounded when Iraqi security forces conducted an airstrike in a Kurdish town in northern Iraq.

Jabbar Yawar, an official with the Kurdish peshmerga forces, said Iraqi military planes and helicopters targeted “a group of civilian residential buildings in the heart” of Tuz Khurmato, a Kurdish-held town.

Another attack on Sunday in northwestern Baghdad killed five people and wounded 16 others when a bomb went off in a café in the Washash district, according to Reuters.

The Sunni militant group the Islamic State, which proclaimed a caliphate using territory it gained in Iraq and Syria, is battling Iraqi forces in northern Iraq, among other portions of the country.

The Kurds, Iraq’s other main faction other than Sunnis and Shiites, are using the battles to their advantage by seizing territory themselves, including oil fields and their proclaimed national capital of Kirkuk. Since fighting ramped up last month, the Kurds have expanded their territory by as much as 40 percent, according to Reuters.