Commander of the Security Guards Unit of Iraq’s Baiji Refinery Ali Al-Qureishi announced that his forces have repelled tens of ISIL attacks on the refinery, and killed hundreds of militants since army and popular forces regained control over the country’s largest refinery.
“The refinery’s security guards have pushed back over 50 counterattacks by the ISIL forces and killed more than 300 of them since gaining control over the facility,” Qureishi told FNA on Wednesday.
He said ISIL militants have targeted the Baiji refinery with suicide attacks or with bomb-laden cars, “but they have failed in all of their attempts”.
On Friday, Iraqi forces retook full control over Baiji after more than two weeks of fighting with the ISIL terrorist group.
Baiji, which had been out of government control for months, lies on the main highway to Iraq’s ISIL-controlled second city Mosul, and its recapture further isolates militants in the city of Tikrit, to the South.
Baiji was the largest town recaptured by government forces since ISIL-led militants overran much of the country’s heartland in June, and their victory is one of the most significant in the conflict so far.
Breaking through to the massive refinery, which once filled 50 percent of the country’s demand for refined petroleum products, was another significant win for the government in Baghdad.
The operation to retake Baiji began more than five weeks ago when security forces and pro-government fighters began advancing towards the town from the South, slowed by bombs militants had planted on the way and finally entered the town on October 31.