Armed groups in west Iraq take control of oil pipelines

20 armed fighters crossing from Syria killed in clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga in western Iraq, according to the Kurdish security source

Armed groups in west Iraq take control of oil pipelines

World Bulletin/News Desk

Armed groups have taken control of the majority of oil pipelines in western Iraq, an Iraqi official said Thursday.

"We lost control of most of the oil pipelines in the western provinces. Terrorist groups have taken over in order to steal the oil," Moatassem Akram, deputy oil minister, told Anadolu Agency.

Akram said the ministry is trying to ensure the delivery of petroleum products to all other provinces by transferring it in tankers.

But, Iraq's biggest oil refinery at Baiji remains under government control on Thursday after Sunni rebels' offensive through northern Iraq, Iraq Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.

Luaibi said Iraq was not importing any additional fuel and stored supplies of gasoline and diesel were good.

Iraq's crude oil exports from its southern terminal at Basra were running at an average 2.6-2.7 million barrels per day as of Wednesday, he said.

Militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL, seized northern city Mosul, and its surrounding area, and Tikrit, a city only 140 kilometers from capital Baghdad.

Iraq's army has appointed new commanders to head operations in the northern Salahuddin province, said officials.

Late on Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the arrest of military leaders who reportedly left their posts when ISIL militants attacked Mosul, a close source to prime minister told AA on condition of anonymity.

A Kurdish security source told AA, on condition of anonymity, that Kurdish Peshmerga forces engaged in an hours-long clash in Sinjar, west of Mosul, with fighters crossing into Iraq from Syria. The source said three Peshmerga troops were wounded and 20 of the militants were killed, with the rest abandoning their equipment and fleeing towards the Syrian border.

ISIL militants are only 100 kilometers from Baghdad according to an AA correspondent.  The correspondent and a security source confirmed the militant group has surrounded the city Samarra, the largest city in Salahuddin province.

An eyewitness said "the armed men are now besieging Samarra from all sides and the federal police withdrew from some checkpoints." 

The Iraqi army still holds a presence in the city and has declared a state of "maximum alert."

ISIL was established shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was most recognizably known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, under the leadership of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri cut ties with the group in February 2014 because of a dispute with another militant group, the Al Nusra Front. 

Iraq has seen a marked increase in violence in recent months, which the government blames on the ISIL.

 

Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2014, 12:56
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