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ISIS has raided government buildings in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

According to Iraqi media, suicide bombers had attacked police stations and a power station, but that security forces had repelled the assaults.

A news agency affiliated to ISIS claimed its fighters had broken into Kirkuk’s town hall and seized a central hotel.

The attacks come as Iraqi pro-government forces continue an offensive to retake ISIS-held Mosul, to the north.US spendings  against ISIS

ISIS militants were reported to have set fire to a chemical plant south of Mosul as they retreated on October 20.

Sources said they started the fire at the sulphur plant in al-Mishraq deliberately when they were being pushed out of the area by security forces.

There are conflicting reports about the scale and extent of the attack on Kirkuk.

A local TV channel broadcast footage of black smoke rising over the city, with automatic gunfire audible.

The Beirut-based newspaper al-Sumaria reported that during the dawn attack, three suicide bombers had blown themselves up.

Kirkuk police sources said three Iranian workers at the power station were killed, along with eight Iraqis.

The city’s governor, Najm al-Din Karim, told the Kurdish news agency, Rudaw, that Kurdish Peshmerga and counter-terrorism forces were completely in control of the situation, and said the attackers were from ISIS sleeper cells.

Security forces had killed six suicide bombers, Najm al-Din Karim added.

Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city that is located about 180 miles north of the capital Baghdad and 105 miles south-east of Mosul. It is claimed both by Iraq’s central government and by the country’s Kurds.

At least 200 members of the Yazidi religious community, mainly elderly people, have been released by the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group in northern Iraq.

The freed Yazidis people crossed out of ISIS-controlled territory and were received by Kurdish officials near the city of Kirkuk.

It is not yet clear why militants released them.

ISIS attacked the Yazidi minority community in Iraq last year, killing and abducting thousands of people.

Almost all of those released on January 17 were elderly or unwell, said Reuters. An early estimate of their numbers was put at 350, but later reports said there were some 200 in the group.Yazidi members released in Iraq

The group, including several sick infants, was taken directly by Kurdish Peshmerga forces to a health centre for treatment.

Khodr Domli, a leading Yazidi rights activist, was at the centre.

“Some are wounded, some have disabilities and many are suffering from mental and psychological problems,” he told the AFP news agency.

“These men and women had been held in Mosul,” Khodr Domli added.

One elderly Yazidi among those released said some of them feared they would be executed when the militants ordered them onto buses.

Instead, they were taken to a crossing point between ISIS-controlled Hawija and the Kurdish city of Kirkuk.

One of them, an elderly Yazidi man in a wheelchair, told AFP that they had spent months in captivity.

“It was so hard, not only because of the lack of food but also because I spent so much time worrying,” he said.

The circumstances surrounding the group’s release are still unclear.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces drove back Islamic State militants in north-western Iraq last month, breaking a long siege of Sinjar mountain where thousands of Yazidis had been stranded for months.

However, many Yazidi villages remain under ISIS control. Yazidi women and girls have been forced to marry or been sold into slavery by ISIS.

The Yazidi community estimates that around 3,000 women and children are still being held captive.

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At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police say.

A city official told AFP news agency that militants had tried to seize the compound but were unsuccessful.

No group has said it carried out the attack.

Kirkuk is ethnically mixed, and at the centre of a dispute between the Iraqi government and Kurds over oil and land rights.

Two weeks ago at least 10 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party in the city.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda have been blamed for much of the recent violence in Iraq.

However, there has been a relative calm in recent days.

At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

The attack took place during morning rush hour in the centre of Kirkuk, police Brig-Gen Natah Mohammed Sabr told AFP.

At least 70 people were injured as militants reportedly dressed in police uniforms and armed with guns, grenades and suicide vests rushed the main gate of the headquarters after a bomb was detonated.

They threw grenades but were killed before they reached the building of the headquarters.

The attack caused massive damage to nearby buildings, Brig-Gen Sabr added.

Traffic in the city centre was stopped, and offices in the area were evacuated.

With its massive oil reserves, Kirkuk is the most bitterly contested of Iraq’s disputed territories.

It houses a mixture of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.

The Kurds want to incorporate it into their largely autonomous region, while Arabs and Turkmen oppose any change to its current status, ruled directly from Baghdad.

Correspondents say militants often exploit differences between the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces by launching deadly attacks in the city.

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