Salahuddin Security Committee denies Baiji fall to ISIL
The Security Committee of the restive Iraqi province of Salahuddin has denied reports that the ISIL Takfiri militants have seized control of part of Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery.
“It is not true that ISIS (ISiL) militants controlled parts of Biji oil refinery,” Khalid al-Khazraji, the vice president of Salahuddin Security Committee, said on Tuesday.
The remarks by Khazraji came after reports that the Takfiri militants took control of the Oil Institute, the buildings of oil distribution branch of Salahuddin and the chemical detergent company inside the oil refinery.
“The security forces were able to repel an ISIS (ISIL) attack on the vicinity of the refinery, killing 40 ISIS (ISIL) militants and burning 10 vehicles” belonging to the group, Khazraji said, adding, “It is also not true that the commander of the brigade in charge of protecting the refinery was killed. The officer killed was a first lieutenant.”
On April 11, the ISIL terrorists launched a fierce assault on Iraq’s largest oil refinery, located near the key northern city of Baiji in Salahuddin province. Clashes between Iraqi forces and the ISIL militants have continued unabated in the area surrounding the refinery over the past few days.
An Iraqi military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the raid on the refinery was “the fiercest since we broke the siege [of the facility] a few months ago.”
The refinery, which once produced some 300,000 barrels of refined petroleum products per day, was under the siege of the ISIL militants for months.
In November last year, Iraqi forces retook the city of Baiji and broke the siege on its oil refinery. However, the ISIL recaptured the city later.
Baiji is located on a main road to the northern city of Mosul, which is under the ISIL control and its liberation can choke off the militants’ supply lines.