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Disputed Iraqi province to vote on Kurdish independence

The ethnically-mixed Iraqi province of Kirkuk, long claimed by both the central government and the autonomous Kurdish region, has voted to take part in a vote on Kurdish independence slated for next month.

In a statement released Tuesday, the provincial council said the proposal won a "majority," without providing further details.

The vote was likely to anger Baghdad, which considers the Kurdish referendum, set for Sept. 25, to be unconstitutional.

The oil-rich Kirkuk province is one of several disputed areas that are controlled by Kurdish security forces and are expected to take part in the vote.

The Kurds took control of the province, which also contains large Arab, Turkmen and Christian communities, when the Islamic State group swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014 and the Iraqi military crumbled.