ISIS attacks Iraq’s largest refinery in Baiji with mortars, gunfire

One major oil producer has a serious casus belli with another major oil producer. Throw in the sectarian Sunni/Shi’ite element to boot. What could possibly go wrong?
The conflict has also stoked regional tensions between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement, saying Riyadh was responsible for encouraging genocide in Iraq.

“We hold them [Saudi Arabia] responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that – which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide,” the Shiite-led cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office. The Sunni kingdom had previously accused the Iraqi government of triggering the conflict with its sectarian policies. - by F. Kaskais

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Baiji oil refinery, 180km (112 miles) north of Baghdad (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)ARCHIVE PHOTO: Baiji oil refinery, 180km (112 miles) north of Baghdad (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)

ISIS militants have launched an attack on Iraq’s largest oil refinery with mortars and machine gun fire, refinery employees say. The extremist group has been gaining ground in Iraq, seizing control of territory in its mission to create an Islamic state.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) surrounded the refinery last week as it seized control of Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul. In response to the escalation in violence management at the refinery halted operations at the facility and evacuated foreign workers.

The latest attack was unleashed at 0400 (0100 GMT) outside two of the facility’s main entrances, sources told Reuters. One mortar struck a spare parts warehouse and plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building.

The refinery is the largest in Iraq and processes 300,000 barrels a day, providing…

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