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Kurds take Iraq's Kirkuk, bomb targets minister

Kirkuk province's Kurdish governor Najim al-Din Omar Karim, wearing a bullet-proof vest, listens to a commander of the Peshmerga forces as their troops were deployed on the main road between Kirkuk, Mosul and Baiji in norther Iraq on June 12, 2014Kirkuk (Iraq) (AFP) – Kurdish forces took control of the disputed Iraqi oil hub of Kirkuk on Thursday to protect it from jihadists, after which a bomb targeted a Kurdish security minister, officials said. Iraqi Kurds want to incorporate Kirkuk province into their autonomous region, a move Baghdad strongly has strongly opposed in a bitter, long-running dispute with them. “We tightened our control of Kirkuk city and are awaiting orders to move toward the areas that are controlled by ISIL,” Brigadier General Shirko Rauf of the Kurdish peshmerga security forces told AFP. He was referring to jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has spearheaded a major offensive this week that has overrun all of one province and parts of Kirkuk and two other provinces.

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