SALAHADDIN, Iraq (AA) – An attack on the Baiji oil refinery in northern Iraq by Islamic State militants has been thwarted, with at least 35 IS fighters killed, according to local sources.
The facility, north of Tikrit, has been the scene of battles over recent weeks and the defeat of IS on Sunday is a blow to the militants attempts to secure further economic targets.
Four IS tanks and three armored vehicles carrying heavy weapons were destroyed as Iraqi army forces, backed by air support, took on the insurgents.
Baiji produces about a fifth of Iraq’s oil. IS has already captured a number of oil-producing areas in northern Iraq.
In Erbil, IS is threatening the Kurdish regional capital after being forced to withdraw from the town of Makhmur following US air strikes. The militants are mustering their forces 40km south-west of Erbil, sources said.
The militants’ campaign has driven 1.2 million people from their homes, mostly Shiite Muslims, Turkmen, Ezidis and Christians.
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