The Islamic State began attacks on the oil-rich Iraqi province of Kirkuk on Friday, causing the deaths of 10 employees working at a power station in the town of Dubis, according to Rudaw.
Security forces have been clashing with ISIS militants for hours since the terrorist organization began a series of surprise attacks on Kirkuk some time before dawn.
Four of the 10 employees who perished during the attack carried out by four militants in Dubis were Iranian engineers.
The attacks have not affected the region’s oil operations so far, according to local officials.
“I’m talking to you from Bay Hassan right now,” Haji Rij, the chief of the KAP Group’s oil department, told Rudaw by telephone. “The oil protection forces are here. All the oilfields are safe and protected. We’ve no trouble here. Our engineers are oil workers are working as usual.”
ISIS fighters targeted the former Kirkuk police station through suicide bombs, occupying the building for several hours before special anti-terrorism forces drove them out.
“ISIS attacked a security building and the former emergency police station,” Sarhad Qadir, Kirkuk’s police chief, told Rudaw.
Qadir recommended that residents stay indoors until the situation in the province was under control. ISIS fighters, with the aid of sleeper cells within Kirkuk, detonated at least three suicide bombs around the city early Friday morning.
Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim said he had expected sleeper cells to begin attacks in light of the Iraqi government’s recent military success in Fallujah and current efforts in Mosul.
“It was expected that ISIS sleeper cells would make a move one day in Kirkuk now that the Mosul offensive has started and they want to boost their own morale this way,” Karim said, noting that security forces had been able to secure the city despite the attacks.
“The militants were not able to take any government building or even enter them.”
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…