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Iraqi forces regain control of main refinery, say officials

Published on Jun 19, 2014 8:14 PM
 
A large plume of smoke rises from what is said to be Baiji oil refinery in Baiji, northern Iraq, in this still image taken from an amateur video posted on a social media website June 18, 2014. Iraqi government forces regained full control on Thursday of the country's biggest oil refinery after heavy fighting with Sunni militants attempting to seize it, officials said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi government forces regained full control on Thursday of the country's biggest oil refinery after heavy fighting with Sunni militants attempting to seize it, officials said.

Sunni Arab insurgents had stormed the complex in Baiji, south of Iraq's militant-held second city Mosul, on Wednesday, setting fire to several storage tanks for refined products in a move that sent jitters through world oil markets.

"The security forces are in full control of the Baiji refinery," Lieutenant General Qassem Atta, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's security spokesman, said in televised remarks.

A refinery employee told AFP that the militants had withdrawn, as did other witnesses, who said the assailants quit the sprawling complex in the face of a heavy fightback by security forces.

 
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