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Police deploy in flashpoint Iraqi oil city Kirkuk as tension runs high following deadly clash

Iraq's national flag [L] and Kurdish regional flag [R]

Police deployed overnight Monday in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk to prevent a deadly dispute from developing into ethnic clashes ahead of a referendum on Kurdish independence, local residents said.

Read More: Iraqi MPs demand dissolution of Kirkuk province council

The Kurdish authorities want to hold the vote, on 25 September, despite opposition from the central government in Baghdad and the region's non-Kurdish population. The city is also home to Arabs and Turkmen.

Kurdish security and the city police erected checkpoints across the city after a Kurd was killed in a clash with the guards of a Turkmen political party office in Kirkuk.

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