Kurdish forces take full control of Kirkuk

Photo: Kurdish forces take full control of Kirkuk / Arab World

As Sunni militants vow to take two more Iraqi cities including the capital Baghdad, Kurdish forces take full control of the country's oil city of Kirkuk after the federal army abandoned their posts, Reuters reported a peshmerga spokesman as saying on Thursday.

"The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga," said Jabbar Yawar, referring to the Kurdish forces, Al Arabiya reported.

"No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now."

Meanwhile, Iraqi media reported on Thursday that the Iraqi army has repelled the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from late dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit.

ISIS militants following a spectacular assault late Monday on Mosul, a city of two million promised a battle that would "rage" on Baghdad and Karbala, a city southwest of the capital that is considered one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

Iraq's parliament is expected to hold an emergency session to vote on declaring a state of emergency after the Islamic militants seized the key cities in the country's Sunni heartland, the Associated Press reported.

Lawmakers were to convene at noon on Thursday to consider a request by embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has asked them to declare the state of emergency following the push by fighters from ISIS into Sunni-dominated cities north of Baghdad.

Yes-votes from two-thirds of the 325-member parliament are required to approve a state of emergency, which grants the prime minister wider powers in running the country. Legal experts say those could include powers to impose curfews, restrict public movements and censor the media.

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