IS militants recapture oil refinery town of Iraq's Baiji

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-12-21 17:11:49

A militant group of the Islamic State (IS) recaptured the oil refinery town of Baiji which has been freed recently by the Iraqi security forces, a source from the northern central province of Salahudin said on Sunday.

On late Saturday afternoon, dozens of IS militants carried out a massive attacks on several points of the main road that bisected the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and seized government and security compounds, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The extremist
militants also surrounded the oil refinery in north of the town, where some of the withdrawing troops and their allied Shiite and Sunni tribal militiamen resorted after the attacks, while other forces and militiamen withdrew to the villages of al-Mazraa and al-Malha in south, the source said.

On Sunday morning, the IS militants fired dozens of mortar rounds on the oil refinery and started to fortify their positions in the town and booby trapped many buildings in center of the town, the source added.

According to the source, at least three army brigades, including an armored one, arrived on Saturday night to an air base on Saturday, 30 km south of Baiji, apparently preparing for a counter attack in the coming hours or days.

The provincial Governor Raed al-Jubouri issued a statement urging Baghdad government to "immediately intervene to save Baiji and the forces who are in an unenviable situation because the weapons and equipment of the militant are more sophisticated than the troops."

Iraqi security forces fought a series of battles about three weeks ago, freeing the town of Baiji and breaking the siege of the adjacent oil refinery after driving out the IS militants, but sporadic skirmishes occurred later on.

Salahudin, a predominantly Sunni province with its capital of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein. The seizure of Salahudin province was part of the June 10 drastic security deterioration in the country, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and Sunni militants who took control of the country's northern city of Mosul and the later swathes of territories in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.

Posted in: Mid-East

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