Police have identified two Albanian men wanted in connection with the murder of a Kurdish sniper who fought against the Islamic State.

Father-of-two Hemwand Ali Hussain, 30, was shot dead in a property in Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool on September 15 last year.

Cleveland Police said he served in the Kurdish military and, according to reports, he fought in Northern Iraq.

The victim was said to be a skilled sniper with the Kurdish Regional Governorate's Peshmerga military forces and joined the front line against the Islamic State.

Four men were due to go on trial at Teesside Crown Court next month charged with his murder.

The force has issued photographs and descriptions of Qazim Marku, 23, and Eugert Merizaj, 28, who are wanted in connection with their inquiries.

Both men were born in Albania, but were understood to have links to a number of areas across the UK including Cleveland, Bolton, Sheffield and London.

Eugert Merizaj is around 5ft 5ins tall with brown eyes and short dark hair with a receding hairline.

He had a full beard and moustache at the time of the photographs.

Qazim Marku is around 5ft 8ins tall with brown eyes and short dark hair, he also had dark facial hair when these photos were taken.

Detective chief inspector Sarah Robinson said: "We'd appeal to anyone who can provide information to help us locate these wanted men to get in contact with police, and if anyone sees these men, they are asked not to approach them but to contact us on 999."

She said they want to trace two other men, of unknown identity.

They are a man believed to be in his 40s - who was a passenger in a silver Mercedes E Class - and a man, thought to be in his 20s, who is pictured wearing a grey Fila branded sweatshirt and dark trousers.

By Tom Wilkinson