Warning: Video is graphic
In a newly released video from the Islamic State (embedded above), the jihadist group shows more fighting at the Baiji oil refinery. It is unclear when some of this footage was recorded, however, as some scenes were previously featured in other photo releases.
The video, which is the second part of the series from the refinery, shows fierce fighting between Islamic State militants and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Several scenes show the Islamic State using mortars, rockets, and rocket-propelled grenades against ISF positions. One scene shows several Iraqi aircraft overhead launching airstrikes while the Islamic State fires anti-aircraft weaponry into the sky. At least two suicide bombers were highlighted by the jihadist group, while another scene shows the group using a drone to monitor the progress of a suicide bomber.
Several of the scenes in the video have been previously featured before. In photos released on April 11, the Islamic State showed its forces attacking the refinery and penetrating the perimeter of the complex. Several images detail the use of US-made Humvees and homemade rocket launchers cobbled together from civilian vehicles. Other pictures show the use of camouflaged howitzers and tanks.
Two photos highlight the deployment of a suicide bomber by the name of Abu Ma’awiya al Khorasani; the moniker “Khorasani” implies that the bomber was from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The jihadist group later released another video showing the deployment of a drone for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering purposes, while another scene showcased the use of children in the assault. (For more on this assault, Islamic State assaults Baiji oil refinery, Islamic State uses drones to coordinate fighting in Baiji, and Islamic State publicizes use of child soldiers in Baiji fight.)
A few days after the Islamic State assault, the ISF claimed to have cleared most of the refinery of the jihadist group. Reuters quoted the governor of Salahadin province, Raid Jubbouri, as saying that “Iraqi forces were in control of the refinery ‘from a military perspective,’ but some insurgents remained hidden inside the complex.” However, recent reporting from Iraqi media outlets suggests that “50% of the refinery” is still at risk from attacks by the Islamic State. Additionally, the Salahadin Provincial Council has reportedly asked for reinforcements to help secure the refinery. Just yesterday, Al Jazeera reported on clashes between the ISF and the Islamic State on the outskirts of the refinery complex.
The Qatari news agency reported that the ISF battled the Islamic State on Sunday night during clashes which saw five oil depots burned. According to an Iraqi police lieutenant, the Islamic State attacked from two sides of the refinery, but the ISF was able to eventually repel the assault.
The city of Baiji is currently under the control of the Islamic State. Iraqi forces and Shiite militias took control of Baiji for a short period of time in mid-December 2014, only to lose the city after an Islamic State counteroffensive. [See LWJ report, Islamic State retakes Baiji after Iraqi forces withdraw.]
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