Daesh suicide bombers, fighters retake parts of Iraq's Baiji
The refinery town of Baiji has changed hands several times since it was first seized by Daesh in June 2014. (AFP/File)
Suicide bombers and fighters from the Daesh militant group attacked the northern Iraqi refinery town of Baiji overnight, forcing Iraqi troops and Shiite militia fighters to withdraw, military sources told Reuters on Sunday.
Baiji is home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery and has changed hands several times during the conflict. Last week, Iraqi military authorities claimed to have control over most of the town and expected to drive Daesh from the refinery within days.
Reuters reported the attack on Baiji began around 8 pm Saturday with two suicide car bombings, after which fierce clashes broke out. Daesh militant fighters drove the army and mainly Shiite Hashd Shaabi forces from the center of town around midnight.
"Islamic State fighters are still holding positions in three neighborhoods in Baiji and they are still receiving reinforcements," an army colonel told Reuters. Army officers said the army and Hashd groups were preparing a response.