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Iraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday, while surging Sunni Islamist rebels advanced towards Baghdad, as the central government’s army abandoned its posts in a rapid collapse that has lost it control of the north. Spokesman Jabbar Yawar said Peshmerga fighters, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish north, swept into Kirkuk after the army abandoned its posts there. Yawar stated, “The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of Peshmerga. No Iraqi army remains in Kirkuk now.” After the insurgents seized Mosul earlier this week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said he felt confident the government would be able to “push back” the terrorists:

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