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ConflictsMiddle East

Iraq: Rocket attack causes fire at major oil refinery

November 30, 2020

Operations at the Siniya oil refinery in northern Iraq have resumed following a rocket attack on the facility. The militant "Islamic State" quickly claimed responsibility for the attack which caused a large fire.

Baiji oil refinery in northern Iraq
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A rocket attack on Sunday against the Siniya oil refinery in the northern Salahuddin province of Iraq led to the outbreak of a large-scale fire and a temporary cessation of production, the country's Oil Ministry reported.

The militant "Islamic State" (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack via the extremist group's mouthpiece Amaq news outlet, saying that its fighters fired two Katyusha rockets.

A tweet from the "al-Mirbad" news site showed the fire from the explosion and cited Reuters, saying that IS had claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Siniya refinery.

The small Siniya refinery is located near Iraq's largest oil refinery in Baiji.

The fire caused by the rocket also spread to a storage tank, the ministry said, citing the state-owned Northern Refining Company. Officials added that there were no reports of casualties and that the fire was put out within a few hours allowing operations to resume.

The nearby Baiji refinery, halfway between Baghdad and Mosul — the one-time IS-occupied city — sustained major damage during the conflict against IS.

The refinery reopened in 2017 after the extremist group lost all its territory in the country; however, small loyal sleeper cells reportedly remain active in the area.

ab/rs (AP, dpa, Reuters)