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29 Nov, 2020 19:35

ISIS claims responsibility for rocket attack on Iraqi oil refinery

ISIS claims responsibility for rocket attack on Iraqi oil refinery

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that set an oil refinery in northern Iraq on fire. The refinery was previously put out of action by IS during the caliphate’s Iraqi campaign.

Two rockets struck the Siniya refinery on Sunday afternoon, hitting a fuel storage depot and setting the facility ablaze, Reuters reported. Shortly afterwards, Islamic State took responsibility for the attack.

There were no casualties reported, but the blaze halted production at the site.

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Production was only restarted at Siniya in 2017, after the facility was damaged by IS militants in their post-2013 expansion across much of Iraq and Syria. A small refinery, Siniya had an output of 20,000 barrels per day before its destruction, a fraction of the 310,000 put out by the nearby Baiji refinery, which is Iraq’s largest. Baiji was also destroyed and looted by IS militants in 2015.

Since the recapture of both facilities by Iraqi security forces, the terrorist group has nevertheless continued to launch sporadic attacks on the two refineries. A bomb blast in 2018 killed one Siniya worker and wounded 11 others, while IS fighters killed three government-backed militia fighters in Baiji that same year. Multiple gun battles have since broken out between IS militants and pro-government forces in the villages surrounding the refineries.

IS’ expansion was halted by the Iraqi and Syrian governments, as well as the Russian military, Kurdish fighters, Iranian-backed militias, and a US bombing campaign. Though the group has lost all of its territorial gains and is – in the words of US President Donald Trump – “100 percent obliterated,” IS’ adherents continue to periodically launch attacks throughout the Middle East, with a roadside bombing and gun assault near Baiji killing at least six Iraqi security officials and four civilians earlier this month.

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