IRBIL, Northern Iraq, June 10 (KUNA) -- Armed Al-Qaeda-linked militants have assumed control of government and security buildings in several towns in the northern Kirkuk Province, a day after they took complete control of the neighbouring Nineveh Province.
The armed gunmen, believed to be part of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, have taken control of the Kirkuk towns of Hawija, Al-Zab, Riyadh, Al-Abbasi and Al-Rashad, a Kirkuk police official told KUNA.
The moves come after they took control of the whole of Nineveh province, including its governorate headquarters, Mosul International Airport and its main military base and burst into prisons releasing scores of inmates following fierce fighting with government forces there, late on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kirkuk governor Najm Al-Deen Omar Kareem has reassured residents over the situation, saying that a security plan to deal with the perpetrators has been employed as the province earlier urged residents to cooperate with security forces amid a curfew.
"Our plan to tackle the terrorists is firm and there is good coordination being carried out between security forces in Kurdistan, whereby areas will be reinforced with military units. We are confident that we will be victorious over terrorism," he said in a statement to the public.
He urged this coordination to extend to authorities in Baghdad, adding that there was nothing to prevent support from Kurdistan's armed forces, known as the Peshmerga.
Furthermore, the cities of Dahouk and Irbil in the northern Kurdistan Province have announced readiness to host displaced families from Mosul.
The city of Dahouk has so far not witnessed any security challenges, its governor Tamr Ramadhan told a press conference, adding that the city is currently preparing to host the victims of the Mosul violence in refugee camps in the east of the city.
Some 15,000 people have fled from Mosul to the neighbouring city of Dahouk in search of refuge, but not yet been allowed by authorities to enter the city due to their huge numbers. (pickup previous)