Last updated: 24 June, 2014

Gunmen kill city council chief in Iraq’s Kirkuk

Gunmen killed the city council chief of Iraq’s ethnically divided northern oil hub of Kirkuk on Tuesday, a police commander and a doctor said.

Munir al-Qafili, a well-known and respected official, was shot dead on his way home in the east of the city.

Kirkuk lies at the heart of a swathe of disputed territory that Kurdish leaders want to incorporate into their autonomous region in the north.

Sunni Arab opposition to the claim has helped fan a spectacular offensive that has seen militants seize a large swathe of northern and north-central Iraq, include several mainly Sunni Arab towns in Kirkuk province.

Federal security forces withdrew in the face of the militant onslaught, allowing Kurdish troops to take control of Kirkuk city and other areas of the province.

Kirkuk has a diverse population with a significant Turkmen community as well as Kurds and Arabs.