Baghdad, Oct 12 (AP) The spokesman of Iraq’s state- sanctioned militias says the Kurdish leader behind last month’s vote for independence is “worse than Daesh,” referring to the Islamic State group.

But Karim al-Nouri, spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces, said today they have no immediate plans to move toward the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and would follow orders from Baghdad.

Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga closed roads to Kirkuk early today after Kurdish authorities warned that Baghdad was moving forces in the direction of the Kurdish-held city. They reopened them later in the day.

Last month’s vote, spearheaded by Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani, escalated a long-running dispute with the central government.

The mostly Shiite PMF includes several groups backed by neighboring Iran, which was also staunchly opposed to the referendum. (AP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.