MOSCOW, Oct. 22 (Press Shia Agency) – ISIL fighters are making their way into the Iraqi city of Kirkuk among the vast number of displaced people arriving in the city, Mayor of Kirkuk Kamel Salayi told Sputnik.

“There are sleeper cells in the city as a result of the vast number of displaced people arriving in Kirkuk coming from the Hawija District, 1,000 people are arriving on average every day and it is hard for security forces to control the situation under these circumstances,” Salayi said Friday.

Salayi said that in the early morning ISIL fighters had climbed on rooftops of some buildings in the city and opened fire in many directions and clashed with the police. Kirkuk lies some 108 miles away from Mosul, considered to be the terror group’s main stronghold in Iraq. The Iraqi government announced an operation to retake Mosul from ISIL, which is outlawed in Russia and many other countries, on Monday and has been making rapid gains on several fronts since then.

SPUTNIK/Press Shia Agency