Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also general commander of Iraqi forces, has ordered additional troops to Kirkuk to assist in clearing the remaining ISIS militants from the city, the Prime Minister’s media office has announced on its official Twitter.
Aso Mamand, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politburo, said an ISIS militant has been captured and others killed. A few suspects have been arrested. One of the vehicles the militants used has been captured and the driver is under investigation.
He claimed that the city is now calm, with no more gunfire reported. Some militants may have fled, he said, but security forces and Peshmerga have been deployed throughout the city.
Aso Mamand, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politburo, said that more than 100 ISIS militants entered Kirkuk but the situation is now largely calm.
He said security forces will investigate those suspected of aiding the militants and will develop a new strategy to defend the city.
Kosrat Rasul Ali, deputy secretary general of the PUK, said ISIS had failed in its plot.
He said that Hawija, where the militants are believed to have come from, is a threat to Kirkuk.
Rudaw’s Halkawt Aziz confirmed with a Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk that all three hotels that ISIS had infiltrated, Cihad, al-Snober, and Darulsalam, are under security forces’ control. All hostages in the hotels have also been freed.
Responding to reports circulating in local and social media that coalition forces were carrying out airstrikes in Kirkuk in support of Kurdish security forces battling ISIS militants in the city, the Public Affairs Office of CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve told Rudaw the following:
“At this time, we cannot associate this with any Coalition strikes in the area. The Coalition adheres to targeting processes and procedures aimed to minimize risks to non-combatants. Extraordinary efforts are made by the Coalition to identify and strike appropriate targets in order to avoid non-combatant casualties. We take all reports of non-combatant casualties seriously and assess all incidents as thoroughly as possible.”
Correction: Al-Snobar Hotel has not been secured, Rudaw’s correspondent has confirmed.
A number of ISIS militants are believed to have taken up positions in the hotel. Three families have reportedly been taken captive by the militants in the hotel.
Brig. Simko Rabati, head of Domiz security, said there are 10 ISIS snipers in Domiz neighborhood, on the southern edge of Kirkuk.
He said there has been good coordination between security forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
He accused people of helping ISIS infiltrate the city and let the militants use their houses. ISIS sleeper cells in Kirkuk also helped.
Many people have been killed, he said, but he did not give any numbers.
Control of al-Snober Hotel has been taken over by security forces.
ISIS had taken control of at least three hotels in the city: Cihad, al-Snober, and Darulsalam.
Dr. Saman Barzinji, head of Erbil Public Health, said that at least 15 Peshmerga who were wounded in Kirkuk have been rushed to Erbil hospitals. Seven of them have been operated on.
He added that preparations have been made to receive and treat the wounded from Kirkuk.
Barham Salih, former Kurdistan prime minister, visited Peshmerga fighters wounded in Kirkuk.
The head of news gathering at Turkmeneli TV was killed by ISIS sniper fire in Kirkuk, the TV station reported on its Facebook page.
Due to exchange of gunfire, part of the Cihad Hotel, where ISIS militants are holed up, has caught fire.
Facebook has activated a safety check for Kirkuk.
Idris Rafaat, a security official in Kirkuk, said ISIS’ goal was to blow up Kirkuk’s oil wells.
The city’s suburban police chief, Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir, said the militants were well prepared for the attack and that one of their goals was to free hundreds of militants imprisoned in Kirkuk.
The Peshmerga’s Black Force are assisting to providing security in Kirkuk.
A security official said that, as the Peshmerga approached Cihad Hotel, in central Kirkuk, a suicide bomber rushed outside and blew himself up in front of the building.
At least two more suicide bombers carrying sniper rifles are still inside the hotel.
Two more militants in Domiz neighborhood, on the southern edge of the city, have occupied civilian houses and are firing at security forces.
KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region—At least 12 ISIS militants were killed by security and police forces in Kirkuk Friday morning as the group launched a predawn surprise attack on multiple locations across the city, leading to hours of clashes with the security forces.
An ISIS sniper exited Hotel Cihad and blew himself up in front of the building, Friday afternoon. Two more ISIS snipers are believed to be inside the hotel.
Four militants also attacked a power station the nearby town of Dubis where they killed 10 employees, four of them Iranian nationals working as engineers at the station.
The militants, among them suicide bombers, attacked the former Kirkuk police station and occupied it for a few hours before they were driven out by special anti-terrorism forces.
At least three car bombs were detonated by the group and early in the confrontations Sarhad Qadir, Kirkuk police chief asked residents of the city “to stay indoors until the situation is under control,”
“ISIS attacked the security building and former emergency police station,” Qadir told Rudaw.
Qadir added: “Some people in Kirkuk have been collaborating with ISIS,”
Four ISIS militants who attacked the Dubiz power plant were killed by the security forces, Kirkuk governor Najmaldin Karim told Rudaw.
Karim said: “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,”
The governor said that in some areas where they feared the escalation of the situation “the security forces brought it all under control.”
“The militants were not able to take any government building or even enter them,” Governor Karim maintained.
Karim believed that some members of the sleeper cells may have come to the city among waves of refugees who recently fled Hawija to Kirkuk.
In the meantime, he urged people to stay away and allow security and police forces to bring the situation under full control.
“I ask people to stay indoors and even those who carry arms for defense not to come to the streets so that the security forces can do their job,” Karim told Rudaw TV by telephone from Kirkuk.
The most intense part of the ISIS attack took place in the town of Dubis.
According to the mayor, Abdullah Nuraddin, three suicide bombers attacked the station where two of them blew themselves up while the third was gunned down by the security forces.
The ISIS militants, whose images have been caught on surveillance cameras, also attacked the Domiz neighborhood security office in Kirkuk, Halo Najat, a security chief told Rudaw.
At 11:00 am head of Kirkuk's Sunni Waqif Association told Rudaw that all mosques have been closed and Friday prayers cancelled for today.
Rudaw correspondents in Kirkuk report that armed civilians have joined security forces to hunt down ISIS militants who are believed to be roaming in parts of the city.
Some Kirkuk residents have sent to Rudaw photos showing ISIS militants walking on some streets and residential areas. Rudaw could not verify the authenticity of the photos.
Haji Roj, head of KAR Group’s oil department in Kirkuk told Rudaw that today’s attacks by ISIS militants have not affected the oil sector.
“I’m talking to you from Bay Hassan right now,” he 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.”
“There’s no threat to the oilfields but we all have to remain vigilant.”
Rudaw has learned from sources inside the city at around 30 militants might have been involved in today's attack.