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Iraq forces remove Kurdish flag from Kirkuk

Iraqi forces have entered central Kirkuk after capturing key sites outside the city

Iraqi forces have today lowered and removed the Kurdish flag which was hoisted on Kirkuk governorate building, leaving only the Iraqi flag raised.

The move comes after fighting was reported in the city after government forces, supported by the Shia Mobilisation Forces, entered the province to regain control of it from Peshmerga forces which had taken over after Iraqi forces retreated during their fight with Daesh.

The Kurdish flag was raised in the disputed city in April with Iraqi Prime Minster Haidar Al-Abadi slamming the move which he said was aimed at creating "sedition" in the divided city.

Though security sources had reported that a convoy of elite Iraqi military forces took control of the governorate building in central Kirkuk without opposition today, Rudaw, a news site with close links to the Peshmerga forces, said fighting had broken out in Kirkuk between Kurdish fighters and the Iraqi army.

Read: Kurdish President rejects conditional dialogue with Baghdad

A dozen Humvees from the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) arrived at the governorate building and took position in the vicinity alongside the local city police, they said. They drove to the centre of the city from airport which they had captured earlier in the day from Kurdish forces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave instructions that the Iraqi flag be hoisted on Kirkuk and other territories claimed by both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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