Heavy Fighting Underway near Mosul, Iraq

raqi soldiers advance towards the city of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. A senior Iraqi general on Wednesday called on Iraqis fighting for the Islamic State group in Mosul to surrender as a wide-scale operation to retake the militant-held city entered its third day. (AP Photo)

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) – The Islamic State group says its fighters have stormed a government compound in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

The claim was carried by the IS-run Aamaq news agency early on Friday, and could not immediately be verified.

Witnesses in Kirkuk say militants attacked two police compounds early Friday and reported hearing heavy gunfire and explosions.

Live footage from the Kurdish Rudaw TV shows smoke rising from the city. The station quoted however Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim as saying that militants have not seized any government buildings.

Kirkuk is around 100 miles from the IS-held city of Mosul. Iraq launched a massive operation to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city, earlier this week.

The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

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