We have noticed you are using an ad blocker
To continue providing news and award winning journalism, we rely on advertising revenue.
To continue reading, please turn off your ad blocker or whitelist us.
Iraqi Kurdish fighters claim they have taken full control of the city of Kirkuk after the country's army fled Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) insurgents.
"The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of Peshmerga," said Jabbar Yawar, a Peshmerga spokesman, referring to the Kurdish forces.
"No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now."
Isis have captured the Sunni cities of Mosul and Tikrit in northern Iraq as they continue to surge southward towards the capital Baghdad.
"We tightened our control of Kirkuk city and are awaiting orders to move toward the areas that are controlled by [ISIS]," Kurdish Brig Gen Shirko Rauf told AFP.
The Iraqi parliament is expected to hold an emergency session to vote on a nationwide state of emergency after the fall of both cities.
Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki requires a two-thirds majority to receive new powers to impose curfews, media censorship and public restrictions.
Kurds see Kirkuk as their historical capital and moved quickly to seize the city from Isis militants after the Iraqi army left their posts. The city holds large oil reserves just outside the Kurdish autonomour region.
Isis have reportedly become the richest terror force in the world after looting $429m and large amounts of gold bullion from Mosul's central bank.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters had previously occupied the city of Kirkuk in 2003 but were ordered out by US coaltion forces after Turkish concerns about the oil city's future in a potential independent Kurdish state.