KIRKUK - Sunni Muslim militants attacked a northern Iraqi village inhabited by Shi'ite ethnic Turkmens but were repelled, police said on Tuesday, highlighting an upsurge of sectarian violence after stunning advances by jihadi fighters.

The militants were beaten back from the village of Basheer, 15 km (9 miles) south of the city of Kirkuk after an hour of clashes with local militia and police forces.

The government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is seeking to repel the Sunni militants who have seized several cities over the past week.

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