At least 16 people have been killed in militant attacks on government-run facilities in Iraq’s northern Province of Kirkuk today, official sources say.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - At least 16 people have been killed in militant attacks on government-run facilities in Iraq’s northern Province of Kirkuk, official sources say.
Iraqi security sources said gunmen wearing explosive vests raided multiple government targets in Kirkuk Province, including a police headquarters and a power plant, early on Friday.
In one of the assaults, three bombers stormed a power plant under construction by an Iranian company near Dibris town, located about 40 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk city, the town’s mayor Abdullah Nureddin al-Salehi said.
A dozen Iraqi administrators and engineers and four Iranian technicians were among those killed in the raid, which took place at around 6:00 local time, Salehi added.
He said Iraqi security forces engaged the attackers, killing one of them. The other two armed men blew themselves up as soon as they were surrounded, the mayor added.
Hours earlier, four bombers launched an attack against the main police headquarters in the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk at around 3:00 local time.
“The security forces managed to shoot one of them dead, the other three blew themselves up,” AFP quoted an unnamed Kurdish intelligence officer as saying.
The officer further said ISIS terrorists were behind the attack.
Another local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a total curfew was imposed on Kirkuk.
The Takfiri ISIS group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The recent wave of terror assaults in Kirkuk comes as Iraq troops are advancing on the northern city of Mosul, the last ISIS stronghold in the country.
The Takfiri group usually steps up its terror attacks across the Arab state when it comes under pressure in the areas under its control.
Commenting on Friday's raids, Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim said ISIS “sleeper cells” were expected to “make a move one day in Kirkuk now that the Mosul offensive has started and they want to boost their own morale this way.”
Kirkuk is some 170 kilometers from the ISIS-held city of Mosul, where Iraqi forces have been waging a wide-scale offensive since Monday.
The oil-rich city is claimed by both Iraq's central government and the country's Kurdish region which has assumed full control of Kirkuk since the summer of 2014.
On Friday, Kurdish militias attempted to retake the town of Bashiqa from ISIS as the Mosul offensive continued.
The UN human rights office meanwhile said it was investigating reports of 40 civilians being killed by ISIS in one village near Mosul.