00:06 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Masked Kurdish forces, loyal to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, stand guard at the North Oil Company headquarters in the northern Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk on March 2, 2017

    Iraqi Government Refutes Info on Possible Offensive in Kirkuk Province

    © REUTERS / Ako Rasheed
    Middle East
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    The Iraqi authorities deny any plans on launching a military operation in Kirkuk province. The official spokesperson for the Iraqi government disavowed on Wednesday the Kurdistan Region Security Council's accusation of preparing a large-scale offensive by Baghdad to regain authority over the disputed region.

    CAIRO (Sputnik) — The official spokesperson for the Iraqi government refuted on Wednesday the information that the army was planning to restore control over the Kirkuk province controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    "We deny any planning or thinking of an attack in Kirkuk," the spokesperson told Al Arabiya broadcaster.

    Earlier in the day, Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council accused Baghdad of preparing a large-scale military operation to restore control over the oil rich disputed province, which has been under the control of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia for three years.

    On September 25, more than 90 percent of voters taking part in the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan backed the region's independence from Baghdad. Iraqi authorities declared the referendum illegal, while Turkey and Iran criticized the vote amid fears that it might strengthen separatist feelings in their own ethnic Kurdish minorities.

    Following the referendum, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of dismissal of all the Kurdish public sector employees, involved in the vote and sending troops to the disputed areas of Kurdistan, particularly to Kirkuk.

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    military, attack, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq
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