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Kurdish Forces Take Control of Kirkuk

Iraq edged closer to all-out sectarian conflict on Thursday as Kurdish forces took control of a provincial capital in the oil-rich north and Sunni militants vowed to march on two cities revered by Shiite Muslims.

Kurdish militia known as peshmerga said they had taken up positions in key government installations in Kirkuk, as forces of the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki abandoned their posts and fled in fear of advancing Sunni militants, an official in the office of the provincial governor said.

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