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Militants Attack Iraqi City Of Kirkuk Amid Mosul Offensive

Witnesses said multiple explosions rocked the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in a pre-dawn assault on October 21. (file photo)

Militants armed with assault rifles and explosives have attacked targets in and around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in an assault claimed by the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.

The October 21 attack comes as the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are making a major push to drive IS militants from Mosul, northwest of Kirkuk.

Security officials said on October 21 that attackers wearing suicide vests targeted government buildings in Kirkuk as well as a power plant outside the city.

Reports said at least 18 members of the security forces and workers at the power station, including two Iranians, were killed, along with around 10 militants.

Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim blamed the attack on IS sleeper cells.

He said Kurdish fighters and Iraq’s counterterrorism forces were in control of the situation.

Kirkuk is an oil-rich city some 290 kilometers north of Baghdad and 170 kilometers southeast of Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters