Daesh seizes parts of Iraq's largest oil refinery: officials
Iraq's Baiji oil refinery in December 1999. (AFP/Karim Sahib)
Daesh (ISIS) militants have broken into Iraq's Baiji oil refinery, the largest in the country, and seized some of its facilities, officials told AFP on Wednesday.
A senior official told AFP Iraqi forces will be launching an operation in the coming days to retake parts of the refinery now occupied by Daesh.
The militants now control the oil training institute, the products and shipping department, and some of the roads, the official said. The extremist group has tried to take the refinery several times over the past ten months, but security forces have previously fought them off.
"The force stationed at the refinery is fighting fiercely," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
An army major general said the group had attacked security forces from two sides of the refinery and managed to enter the facility a few hundred meters in. The militants are currently hiding among fuel tanks, officials said.
About 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, the refinery produced 300,000 barrels of oil until June when it was cut off due to Daesh's offensives. In October, Iraqi forces retook the area, but oil production has still been down.