In a statement released on Friday, Qassemi expressed deep sorrow over the death of several Iranian technicians in an attack carried out by ISIS terrorists on a power plant north of Kirkuk, denouncing the move as a “savage act”.
He further expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of the victims and said the terrorists are “taking their last breaths” and by such attacks, they are attempting to make up for their humiliating defeats in the battlefields.
Qassemi also said the Iranian consul general in Erbil is pursuing the fate of Iranian technicians, adding that based on preliminary figures, four Iranian nationals have been killed and three others wounded in the attack.
ISIS militants armed with assault rifles and explosives attacked targets in and around Kirkuk early Friday.
Multiple explosions meanwhile rocked the city, and gun battles were ongoing, said witnesses in Kirkuk, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were concerned for their safety.
Much of the fighting was centered on a government compound in the city. They said the streets were largely deserted out of fear of militant snipers, according to AP.
Local Kurdish television channel Rudaw aired footage showing black smoke rising over the city as extended bursts of automatic gunfire rang out. It quoted Kirkuk Gov. Najmadin Karim as saying that the militants have not seized any government buildings.
In the power plant attack, which took place in Dibis, a town north of Kirkuk, three ISIS suicide bombers entered the facility and took 10 workers hostage, said Maj. Ahmed Kader Ali, the Dibis police chief.
The attackers asked to be taken to the Iranians who worked at the plant. One of the workers took them to the Iranians before escaping. The militants then killed the Iranians and the other workers, and detonated their explosive vests when police arrived, Ali said.
Kirkuk is some 170 kilometers (100 miles) from the Daesh-held city of Mosul, where Iraqi forces have been waging a wide-scale offensive since Sunday.