Islamic State (IS) on Friday, October 21, launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq.
Islamic State’s assault on Kirkuk, which lies in an oil- producing region, killed six members of the security forces and two Iranians who were part of a team carrying out maintenance at a power station outside the city, a hospital source said.
Kirkuk is located east of Hawija, a pocket still under control of Islamic State that lies between Baghdad and Mosul.
Twelve IS fighters also reportedly died in the gun battle.
The offensive that started on Monday to capture Mosul is expected to become the biggest battle fought in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
The fighting has forced 5,640 people to flee their homes so far from the vicinity of the city, the International Organization for Migration said late on Thursday.
Five Iranian employees are believed to be among the dead in the attack on the power plant to the north of Kirkuk, Iraq’s electricity ministry said.