Five killed in militant attacks on Iraqi energy facilities | News | DW | 31.07.2016
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Five killed in militant attacks on Iraqi energy facilities

Militants have assaulted a gas facility and an oil station in northern Iraq, killing at least five people. Officials report the gas center is still burning, with firefighters trying to bring the blaze under control.

Militants attacked the AB2 gas compressor station and the Bai Hassan oil field in Kirkuk province in northern Iraq on Sunday, leaving at least five workers dead, security sources said.

Four gunmen with hand grenades carried out the first attack on the gas compressor station, located some 15 kilometers (10 miles) northwest of the provincial capital, Kirkuk. Sources say they broke through an external door, seriously wounding two guards before shooting dead four employees in a control room and planting several explosive charges.

Elite counterterrorism forces regained control of the facility and freed 15 other employees, who had taken cover in another room.

The mayor of Dibbis, the town where the facility is located, said firefighters are still trying to extinguish a fire that erupted in the compressor.

Major fire

The same attackers are then believed to have escaped to the Bai Hassan oil station, 25 kilometers to the northwest. There, they killed an engineer and detonated explosives that destroyed an oil storage tank in a major fire.

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A source from Kurdish peshmerga forces said three of the attackers were killed, while a fourth was still at large. Other reports said that all four assailants had died, some in explosions they themselves had caused.

A number of other people, including police, were wounded in the attacks.

The Amaq news agency, which supports the jihadist group "Islamic State" (IS), mentioned that the assault on Bai Hassan had taken place, but did not attribute it to IS militants. The group, which holds some territory in the province, has previously targeted oil facilities in the area with explosives, but has so far not claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Bai Hassan attack forced the oil station to suspend operations, oil sources said.

tj/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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