A provincial police official says gunmen have shot and killed a prominent Sunni politician in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk.

The deputy police chief in the city, Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef, said Wednesday that security forces were searching for suspects in the killings of councilman Moahmmed Khalil al-Jubouri and his wife late Tuesday.

Youssef said al-Jubouri was traveling through the central Taseen neighborhood without guards when drive-by shooters opened fire.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered a "thorough and independent" investigation.

Ethnically-mixed Kirkuk is at the center of a struggle for power between Arabs and ethnic Turkmen and Kurds, who claim the area as their own and eventually hope to annex it to their self-rule enclave in northern Iraq.