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Senior Kurdish commander killed

A senior Kurdish military commander and eight Kurdish fighters have been killed in clashes with Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

Brig Khatab Omar said Brig Gen Shirko Fatih was killed as he was leading Kurdish peshmerga troops in a battle against IS extremists early on Friday outside the city of Kirkuk.

He said at least eight Kurdish fighters were killed during the clashes.

Brig Omar said IS militants attacked the peshmerga fighters' positions south of Kirkuk, which is 180 miles north of Baghdad.

The casualties come as Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops, with Islamic State militants now in control of about a third of the country.

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