Iraqi Kurdish forces take oil city Kirkuk, repel Islamic militants.

Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday.

Government troops had earlier fled the city after clashes with insurgents from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL.)

Peshmerga fighters, who are the security forces in the autonomous Kurdish north, fought off the insurgents who were trying to take control of the outskirts of the city.

A police source said 10 militants were killed and six policemen wounded by sniper fire.

Iraqi Kurds were driven out of Kirkuk under Saddam Hussein and replaced with settlers from the south under a programme of ‘Arabisation.’

They view the city as their historic capital and have long wanted it to be part of their autonomous region in the north.