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IS Militants Driven Back In Kirkuk

Kurdish forces are reported to have driven back Islamic State militants in Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

A statement on March 9 from the region's security council said Kurdish Peshmerga fighters retook around 100 square kilometers from Islamic State militants, killing 100 militants.

The statement said Peshmerga forces gained control of a strategic junction linking Kirkuk to Mosul, the largest Iraqi city under Islamic State control.

Major-General Omar Saleh Hassan told Reuters that his forces faced little resistance from the militants.

Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces said troops had pushed closer to the mainly Sunni city of Tikrit, on the eighth day of a major offensive.

Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militia fighters began an offensive to regain control over the town of al-Alam, just north of Tikrit.

Witnesses quoted by the dpa news agency said Islamic State fighters had executed 30 fellow militants who had tried to escape the Iraqi offensive.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa and Reuters