BEIRUT

Middle East

Shelling kills 10 in north Iraq town: officials

Members of the Kurdish security forces look at a mortar shell on a road in the outskirts of Kirkuk June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

KIRKUK, Iraq: Shelling targeting the largest town not seized by militants in a north Iraq province killed 10 people on Sunday, police and a local official said.

The shelling in Tal Afar, a Shiite Turkmen town that is one of the few in Nineveh province not overrun by a major militant offensive, also wounded 40 people, the sources said.

The shelling was carried out by militants who launched an assault on the Tal Afar area on Sunday that was ultimately repulsed, with 18 militants killed.

Militants unleashed a major offensive, spearheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) but also including supporters of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and other groups, overrunning Nineveh province and seizing major parts of three others.

The offensive began in Nineveh's capital Mosul late on Monday, and later swept into Kirkuk, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces.

Security forces initially performed poorly, in some cases abandoning vehicles and positions and shedding their uniforms in their haste to flee.

But they seem to have recovered at least somewhat from the shock of the onslaught, and have retaken some areas north of the capital Baghdad.

 

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