IS kidnaps 78 people in Iraq

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Baghdad: Islamic State (IS) militants kidnapped 78 people Saturday in northern Iraq, including 15 workers from a state oil company in Kirkuk, officials said.

IS combatants attacked Kirkuk Friday and briefly occupied the North Oil Company field located 25 km southeast of Kirkuk city before abducting 15 workers, an Iraqi police spokesperson told Efe.

Peshmerga forces from the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq subsequently recovered control of the field but did not find any of the oil workers.

The militant group also kidnapped 63 shepherds and farmers, most of them members of the Jabouri tribe and residents of towns located west of Tikrit, about 250 km north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad.

The whereabouts of the victims is unknown, the spokesperson said.

The IS took advantage of bad weather to launch a broad offensive Friday on Kirkuk but were turned back by Kurdish forces, who in just a few hours recovered the areas seized by the jihadis.

The clashes left dozens of IS fighters dead, while eight Kurdish forces, including a general, were killed and 50 others were wounded.

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