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Insurgents ‘take control of Iraqi refinery’

Iraqi oil production24 June 2014, News Wires – Radical Sunni militants claim to have taken full control over Iraq’s largest refinery, as US Secretary of State John Kerry calls for Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to work together to combat the insurgency.

The Baiji refinery in Salahuddin province has been the scene of intense fighting for weeks as government troops tried to repel the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

ISIS fighters have claimed that government forces laid down their arms after the intervention of local tribesmen, the BBC reported. However, the government has not conceded the loss of the refinery, which supplies one third of Iraq’s refined fuel.

The BBC reported that ISIS has said the refinery would be handed over to local tribes to administer.

ISIS has in the past fortnight captured key towns and cities such as Mosul, as well as border posts in the west of Iraq.

Kerry took in official visits to both Baghdad and Erbil, vowing “intense and sustained support” from the US for Iraq.

KRG President Masoud Barzani told Kerry: “With these changes we are facing a new reality and a new Iraq.”

Kerry told Barzani: “As everybody knows, this is a very critical time for Iraq and the government formation challenge is the central challenge that we face.”


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