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Kurdish Forces Target Islamic State In North Iraq

Kurdish forces have launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS) fighters in oil-rich northern Iraq.

Reuters news agency reported that the Peshmerga began shelling IS positions at dawn on March 9 before advancing along a frontline southwest of the city of Kirkuk.

The U.S.-led coalition against the IS group earlier carried out air strikes in the area.

Kirkuk governor Najmaldin Karim said the purpose of the offensive was to secure Kirkuk, which Kurdish forces took control of in August 2014.

But the city has remained vulnerable, with the frontline no more than 20 kilometers away.

IS militants were also fighting to hold Tikrit, located between Kirkuk and the capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi troops and Shi’ite militias are attempting to drive IS militants from the city, seized by the militants in June.

Based on reporting by Reuters and the BBC