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ISIS militants in Iraq seize more strategic facilities

June 26, 2014, 10:32 UTC+3
Islamists established control over Ajil, located 30km to the east of Tikrit (130km to the north-east from Baghdad), with its three small oil fields
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© AP Photo via Militant Website, File

KUWAIT CITY, June 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) organization, with the help of other radical Sunni groups, have seized one of the largest Iraqi navy bases and several oil fields.

Islamists established control over Ajil, located 30km to the east of Tikrit (130km to the north-east from Baghdad), with its three small oil fields. Iraqi media report that 28,000 barrels of oil are produced in these fields daily.

The region of Ajil was initially controlled by the police, but after it became known that the extremists had seized several neighboring settlements, only local tribes were left to defend the place.

Conflicting reports came on Wednesday about the situation in Baiji, where one of the country’s largest oil refineries is located. The state television aired footage of reinforcements arriving to the refinery to drive out extremists from the place. However, several other Arab outlets, along with international media, said the plant was still controlled by the radicals, citing their own sources.

There is no confirmed information on who controls the refinery in Baiji now. According to some sources, the plant changes hands several times a day, with the army, ISIS militants and local tribes all fighting for control.

On Wednesday, fighting between the Iraqi military and the extremists was reported near the settlement of Yasrib (90km to the north of Baghdad). At least four militants were killed. Despite the resistance of government forces, extremists surrounded a large airbase known as ‘Camp Anaconda’.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi army is preparing to defend the town of Khadit (240km to the west of Baghdad) in the Anbar province. A large hydroelectric power station on the Euphrates is located in the town. If militants seize the plant, it may result in serious disruptions of electricity in many regions of the country.

Last Sunday, the Iraqi army started a strategic retreat, leaving the towns of Ar Rutba, Rawa and Anah in the Anbar province. These towns are located on the Euphrates, to the west of Khadit.

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