Kurdish forces have seized 2 oilfields outside their autonomous region in northern Iraq, further complicating the situation in the embattled country.
The Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement on Friday that Kurdish militiamen took control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields near the city of Kirkuk. It denounced the action and urged the Kurds to immediately withdraw.
Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk last month after Shia-led government forces withdrew in the face of an assault by Sunni Islamist insurgents.
The Kurds have vowed to hold a referendum for local residents on whether to declare independence, saying the Iraqi state has effectively disintegrated.
The development is expected to escalate a feud between the Kurds and the Shia-led government in Baghdad, which is facing the Sunni-led insurgency.
Jul. 12, 2014 - Updated 02:18 UTC