The Islamic State has launched multiple suicide assaults in an effort to retake Iraq’s largest oil refinery, in Baiji in Salahaddin province. While it has conducted numerous attacks on the refinery in the past, mainly utilizing mortars, the jihadist group has stepped up the resources used in the latest round of operations.
According to the National Iraqi News Agency, the Islamic State utilized at least eight suicide car bombs in a single day during its latest assault. In previous days, the Islamic State deployed several additional suicide car bombs to attack Iraqi military positions in and around the refinery.
Shafaq News reported that “terrorists detonated three car bombs on Tuesday night before they [blew] up tankers at dawn on Wednesday, led by a suicide bomber.” Joel Wing of Musings on Iraq noted on Twitter that it was the second day of suicide attacks on the refinery.
This new assault comes as US and coalition airstrikes have begun to target Islamic State-held oil assets inside Syria. The BBC notes: “The raids, carried out by US, Saudi and UAE aircraft, targeted 12 refineries in Syria on a third night of air strikes against the militants.” US Central Command has also released video showcasing airstrikes on “Jeribe West Modular Refinery” in Syria.
The Islamic State has been in control of Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery in the past. Since June, Iraqi troops and Islamic State forces have battled for control of the facility.
Below are pictures reportedly taken outside of Baiji that show dark smoke billowing from the refinery.
View Iraqi and Syrian Towns and Cities seized by the Islamic State and its allies in a larger map
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