Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Sunni militants push into Iraqi oil refinery town

Source: Reuters - Wed, 11 Jun 2014 07:35 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-war
In this file photo, boys ride their bikes down a deserted main street in the northern Iraqi city of Baiji, 210 km (130 miles) north of Baghdad REUTERS/Bob Strong
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

(Adds quotes from residents)

BAGHDAD, June 11 (Reuters) - Militants from an al Qaeda splinter group who seized Iraq's second biggest city of Mosul this week have advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji, setting the court house and police station on fire, security sources said on Wednesday.

They said around 250 guards at the refinery had agreed to withdraw to another town after the militants sent a delegation of local tribal chiefs to persuade them to pull out.

Baiji resident Jasim al-Qaisi, said the militants also warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them.

"Yesterday at sunset some gunmen contacted the most prominent tribal sheikhs in Baiji via cellphone and told them: 'We are coming to die or control Baiji, so we advise you to ask your sons in the police and army to lay down their weapons and withdraw before (Tuesday) evening prayer'."

Militants entered Baiji later on Tuesday evening in around 60 vehicles, releasing prisoners in the town.

Baiji refinery is Iraq's biggest, supplying oil products to most of the country's provinces. A worker there said the morning shift had not been allowed to take over and the night shift was still working.

The push into Baiji followed the capture on Tuesday of Mosul by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - an offshoot of al Qaeda - which has also seized territory in neighbouring Syria.

(Reporting by Raheem Salman in Baghdad and Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit; writing by Dominic Evans and Editing by Samia Nakhoul)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
RELATED CONTENT
Related Content
Most Popular
TOPICAL CONTENT
Topical content
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs