IS fighters attack the city of Kirkuk. UN warns the use of human shields by IS in Mosul conflict.

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The long waited offensive to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants began last week.

In what has been deemed as retaliation and a way to divert the Iraqi Army, IS sleeper cells attacked the Iraqi city of Kirkuk today and killed 19 people in and around the city.

6 Police officers lost their lives when militants attacked the police station. A power plant which was under construction was also attacked with 13 victims claimed by the IS extremists.

An IS affiliated news source reported that the militants also took over a hotel and had broken into the city hall but this was later denied by city officials.

12 IS militants have been killed but official’s report that more militants are in the city at the moment.

The attack was fought off by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and counter terrorism forces and the situation is now under control according to the governor of the city.

The attack is being largely seen as an effort by IS to try to withdraw the Iraqi forces from Mosul to focus on Kirkuk. The IS is also losing the fight in Mosul, thus the attack on Kirkuk has been seen as a way of boosting moral amongst its supporters.

The government forces established control over two more villages south to Mosul and were able to kill 15 militants. This conflict also resulted in many families having to evacuate their homes.

The UN Security council held an emergency meeting on Friday in which Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Raad Al Hussein provided information that civilians were being used as human shields by IS militants near Mosul .

Reports have also come in about executions of civilians who were suspected to be disloyal by IS. They have also shot dead people who have been trying to rise up against them.

The IS militants occupied some area in the northern parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. A war to liberate the area from the occupation has been fought for the last 19 months which has reached an important stage as the city of Mosul, once the capital of the so called Islamic State is in the process of being liberated.

Security forces have warned however that it would be months before Mosul would be totally under the control of the Iraqi government.