9 March 2015 BBC MidEast
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by US air strikes, have launched an offensive against Islamic State (IS) militants in oil-rich Kirkuk province.
The Peshmerga reportedly began advancing along a frontline south-west of the provincial capital on Monday. Their hold over Kirkuk - consolidated when Iraq's army fled an IS advance last summer - has come under fresh attack from IS this year. IS has also sent fighters to repel an Iraqi assault on the city of Tikrit. Iraqi troops and Shia militias are attempting to drive IS jihadists from Tikrit, the Sunni Arab hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein. The BBC has learnt that militants from Mosul, the largest city under IS control in Iraq, have been diverted to fend off the assault on Tikrit.
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