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By Maher Chmaytelli and Michael Georgy BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk on Friday as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the jihadists' last major stronghold in Iraq. Islamic State's assault on Kirkuk, which lies in an oil- producing region, killed 18 members of the security forces and workers at a power station outside the city, including two Iranians, a hospital source said. Kirkuk is located east of Hawija, a pocket still under control of Islamic State that lies between Baghdad and Mosul.
Net income for the industrial conglomerate fell 20.4 percent to $2.0 billion. General Electric scored higher net profit in several businesses, including power, renewable energy, aviation and health care.
British American Tobacco on Friday launched a vast $47-billion bid for full control of Reynolds American, as it seeks expansion into the United States -- the second largest market after China. The deal, worth the equivalent of 43 billion euros for around 60 percent of Reynolds that BAT does not yet own, would cement its status as one of the world's largest tobacco companies. BAT said the move would give it "a leading position in the US tobacco market" and "a significant presence in high growth emerging markets across South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, together with the most attractive developed markets".