The Baiji refinery, Iraq’s largest and seen in this AFP file photo, has been seized by insurgents.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Insurgents who have been sweeping across Iraq and are moving toward Baghdad, seized Iraq’s largest oil refinery on Friday, multiple sources told Rudaw.
The Baiji facility, which is in Salahaddin province and processes 320,000 barrels per day (bpd), is fully intact and continues to operate under orders from the militants, the sources said.
They said the insurgents also were in control of the nearby Ajeel oil field.
Local workers, Iraq’s state-owned North Oil Company, and Ministry of Interior officials confirmed the refinery had been seized by insurgent Sunni tribes, who are fighting in concert with Islamist militants and other government opponents.
The insurgents moved into the refinery town of Baiji on Wednesday, setting fire to the courthouse and police station.
The Iraqi government had said it had sent additional forces to secure the refinery.
But army has largely collapsed before onslaughts by insurgents, deserting en masse and leaving behind weapons depots and arms.