Iraq: Explosions, gunfire rock Kirkuk

Published by Théophile Niyitegeka
On 21 October 2016 saa 03:27
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ISIL claims responsibility for multiple attacks targeting buildings and a power station in oil-rich city.

A curfew has been imposed in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk following armed attacks on a number of buildings and a power station, according to security sources and local media.

In one of Friday’s attacks, at least three suicide bombers were killed as security forces foiled an attack on a former police complex in central Kirkuk.

Separately, at least six members of the security forces were killed along with two Iranian nationals who were part of a team carrying out maintenance in a power station outside Kirkuk, a hospital source told Reuters news agency.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from outside of Kirkuk, said into the center of Kirkuk there is still an ongoing situation of exchange of fire.

"They [ISIL] started the attack by heading towards the police buildings, one of the former police building and one government building and that the ISIL fighters are still walking around in the streets of Kirkuk," our correspondent said.

"In two of the neighborhoods, the situation has been put under control, but they [ISIL] are still controlling the Dibis neighborhood."

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed the attacks in online statements.

Witnesses reported gunfire and explosions, while live footage from the Kurdish Rudaw TV showed smoke rising from the city.

The broadcaster quoted Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim as saying that fighters had not seized any government buildings.

The wave of attacks comes as the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are making a major push to drive ISIL from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

Kirkuk, an oil-rich city some 290km north of Baghdad and 180km south of Mosul, is claimed by both Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish region.