Baghdad prepares for Kirkuk attack, Kurdish Pres. Aide

Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk Huseyin Yazdanpena

FacebookKurdish Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk Huseyin Yazdanpena

Mr Hawrami urged the worldwide community to intervene and call on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi to "order PMF to pull back if he can or if they listen to him".

Kurdish media says Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has sent 6,000 reinforcements to the disputed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and Erbil since September 25, when Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of disputed areas - voted on whether or not to declare political independence.

On Wednesday, Iraq issued the warrants against Hendreen Mohammed, the chairman of the KRG's referendum commission, and two aides for violating an Iraqi court ruling that renders the independence vote "invalid" despite a vast majority of Kurds voting in favor of independence, adds the news agency. Baghdad has ruled out talks unless the KRG renounces the referendum results. Earlier Baghdad dismissed the governor of Kirkuk and made a decision to deploy troops to the province.

Iraq has maintained its tough line towards the Kurds with support of neighbours Turkey and Iran, which strongly oppose the secessionist movement.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is expected to visit Baghdad on Sunday to meet with Abadi.

Baghdad has denied it has plans for a military move against the Kurds.

However, The Iraqi military command, in a statement, denied the Iraqi army was launching an operation to retake the city.

The central government of Baghdad lost control of the area in June 2014 after the occupation of Daesh, an acronym in Arabic for an Islamic state, and then Iraqi Kurdish forces (Peshmerga) evicted the terrorists and resumed it.

They accused the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), paramilitary units dominated by Iran-trained Shia militia, of massing fighters in two mainly Shia Turkmen areas south of Kirkuk in a bid to provoke a confrontation.

On Thursday, the Iraqi military dropped leaflets on al-Qaim urging the militants to surrender or face death.

Islamic State's cross-border "caliphate" effectively collapsed in July when USA -backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, after a nine-month battle.

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