Iraq’s Kurdish forces have attacked and driven back ISIL Takfiri terrorists from the northern city of Kirkuk.
Local officials on Monday announced the fresh gain against the terrorists as Kurdish security forces have long sought to secure the oil-rich city.
According to Kurdish forces, they managed to seize 100 square kilometers (40 square miles) of land, including several villages, south and west of Kirkuk in an offensive that kicked off at 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT).
Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region Security Council also said the Peshmerga fighters took control of a strategic junction connecting Kirkuk to the militant-held city of Mosul, in northern Iraq.
The advances in Kirkuk come as Iraqi security forces, who have recently launched an operation to take back the strategic city of Tikrit from the ISIL, said that troops, backed by Shia and Sunni volunteers, have pushed closer to the city in northern Salahuddin Province.
Troops are closing in on the center of the town of al-Alam, north of Tikrit, from three directions in an attempt to recapture it, according to military officials.
A number of villages and oilfields near Tikrit, which is the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, have already been retaken.
Located some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, Tikrit was overrun by the ISIL terrorists in the summer of 2014 along with Mosul and other areas in the Arab country’s Sunni heartland.