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Iraqi forces take control of all oil fields operated by state-owned North Oil in Kirkuk

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forces completed an operation to take control of all oil fields operated by state-owned North Oil Company in the Kirkuk region on Tuesday, a senior military officer said.

Iraqi forces took control of the Bai Hasan and Avana oil fields northwest of Kirkuk on Tuesday, after seizing the Baba Gurgur, Jambur and Khabbaz fields on Monday, he said.

Oil officials in Baghdad said all the fields were operating normally.

The fields were previously held by Kurdish security forces known as Peshmerga, but they pulled out of the area in the face of an advance by forces of the Iraqi central government.

Tuesday’s deployment of Iraqi government forces in Dibis, where Bai Hasan and Avana are located, is part of an operation ordered by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take control of Kurdish-held areas outside the three provinces that form Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Maher Chmaytelli; editing by John Stonestreet and Peter Graff