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Kurdish security forces seize two major oilfields in northern Iraq

Kurdish security forces seized two major oilfields in Kirkuk on Friday after they expelled Arab workers and replaced them with Kurds, the Iraqi government said in a statement.

The statement issued by the Ministry of Oil said that Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga, stormed the crude oil production facilities of Kirkuk and Bay Hassan at dawn and took control of them.

The ministry warned the Kurdish region of the consequences of such "irresponsible" move, which is considered as a violation of the constitution and the national wealth, as well as "an ignorance to the federal authority and a threat to the national unity."

The ministry appealed to the "wise men from the Kurds about the necessity to understand the seriousness of the situation and to instruct those people responsible for this uncontrolled action to withdraw the armed force from these oilfields and evacuate immediately to avoid serious consequences," according to a statement.

The Kurdish move is the latest in series of escalation between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the Kurds took control of the disputed areas adjacent to the country's northern region, including Kirkuk.

The disputed areas are mainly ethnically mixed between the Kurds, Arabs, Turkmans and other minorities. The Kurds demanded to expand their autonomous region in northern Iraq to include the oil- rich province of Kirkuk and other areas in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh, Salahudin and Diyala.

[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 11Jul14]

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