Iraqi troops storm autonomous region occupied by Kurds

Iraqi state media say federal troops have entered disputed territories occupied by the nation’s Kurds.

The move comes three years after Kurdish militias seized the areas outside their autonomous region to defend against an advance by the Islamic State extremist group.

Al-Iraqiya TV says the military, anti-terrorist units and federal police have taken control of some areas around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. It says they advanced without firing a shot.

The maneuver comes three weeks after Kurds voted for independence in a controversial but symbolic referendum that Baghdad has so far refused to acknowledge. It says the vote organized by the country’s autonomous Kurdish authority was unconstitutional.

A commander of the local Kurdish police force says Kurds remain in control of Kirkuk province’s oil wells.