Fighting has broken out in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk as gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked government and security buildings, according to security sources and local media.

The attack, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group on Friday, targeted the main police headquarters, as well as checkpoints and a power plant.

Witnesses told The Associated Press news agency that gunfire could be heard ringing through the city.

The chief police of Kirkuk told Al Jazeera that a number of ISIL fighters attacked the buildings with three suicide bombers, which was later foiled by Iraqi police who managed to kill all three. 

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A curfew has been imposed until further notice. 

Live footage from the Kurdish Rudaw TV showed smoke rising from the city. The broadcaster, however, quoted Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim as saying that fighters had not seized any government buildings.

The assault comes as the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are making a major push to drive ISIL from Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

Kirkuk, an oil-rich city some 290km north of Baghdad and 180km south of Mosul, is claimed by both Iraq's central government and the country's Kurdish region.


Source: News Agencies