The US ihas suffered its first casualty in the offensive against ISIS in the northern Iraq city of Mosul.
The US military said the soldier died from wounds caused by an “improvised explosive device,” or roadside bomb.
The intensity of the fighting suggested the jihadists were mounting a serious attempt to resist the offensive, rather than opting for a tactical retreat to preserve fighters for future battles.
Islamic State militants wielding assault rifles and explosives attacked targets in and around the city of Kirkuk, about 150 kilometres south-east of the IS-held city of Mosul. They attacked government buildings, killing at least six police officers and 16 civilians.
Militants reportedly stormed a power plant north of Kirkuk in Dibis and then blew themselves up.
Three IS suicide bombers entered the facility and took 10 workers hostage, said Major Ahmed Kader Ali, the Dibis police chief.
The attackers asked to be taken to the Iranians who worked at the plant. One of the workers took them to the Iranians before escaping.
The militants then killed the Iranians and the other workers, and detonated their explosive vests when police arrived, Ali said.
The assault was apparently aimed at diverting security forces from their massive offensive at Mosul.
There were also reports Islamic State militants had taken 550 families from villages around Mosul and were holding them with the intention of using them as human shields.
United Nations spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani, citing “corroborated information” from the area, said the office was also investigating reports that Islamic State militants had killed 40 civilians in one village.
– with AAP