Kurdish forces attacked ISIS positions around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq at dawn on Monday, backed by heavy airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition.

Speaking to a local television channel near the frontline, Kirkuk governor Najmaldin Karim, said the purpose of the offensive was to drive militants away from the city.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters began shelling ISIS positions at dawn before advancing along an approximately 30 km (20 mile) front southwest of the city, seizing several villages and gaining around five kilometers (three miles) in some places. […]