After clash with Kurds, Iraqi forces ‘complete takeover’ of Kirkuk province

Iraqi forces took control on Friday of the last district in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk still in the hands of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, according to security sources. The announcement came following a three-hour battle in the district of Altun Kupri, Reuters reported. The area lies on the road between the city of Kirkuk - which fell to Iraqi forces on Monday - and Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. The region voted in a referendum last month to secede from Iraq. Kurdish Peshmerga forces withdrew from the town of Altun Kupri, located on the Zab river, after battling the advancing Iraqi troops with machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, Iraqi security sources said.