Iraqi mobilization forces foil plot by Islamic State to infiltrate into Baiji oil refinery

Baiji oil refinery

Salahuddin ( – Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces thwarted on Monday a plot by the Islamic State militant group to infiltrate into the country’s largest oil refinery Baiji in Salahuddin province.

“A group of Islamic State militants launched an armed attacked on the refinery, which is located 130km north of Baghdad, in the wee hours of Monday but the Popular Mobilization Forces were able to repel the attack,” eyewitnesses told the Arabic-language Al-Mawqif Al-Iraqi news website.

The attack left a number of civilians, who works at the oil refinery, wounded, the eyewitnesses added.

Government forces retook the facility and the city of Baiji in October 2015 after fierce clashes with the Islamic State jihadists but the severe damage kept the refinery closed.

Baiji was particularly hard hit by the devastation wreaked by Iraq’s campaign to reclaim its towns and cities from Islamic State.

In 2016, it was declared a disaster zone by the national parliament. Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces gradually retook control of all territory lost to IS and in December 2017 former prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory against the militants.

But experts warn that IS remains a threat, with the capacity as an insurgent group to carry out high-casualty bomb attacks using sleeper cells.

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