DAESH Suicide Team Attack Iraqi Oil Facility

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BAGHDAD—Islamic State claimed twin attacks on oil and gas facilities in northern Iraq on Sunday that killed at least five local employees, the latest in northern Iraq by the extremist group, which relies on oil for a significant portion of its revenue.

Four suicide bombers hit the Bai Hassan oil field, prompting an hourslong standoff with local forces, said a colonel with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces that control the area. The field is one of the largest in the region of Kirkuk, producing more than 175,000 barrels a day, according to oil officials.

Three of the attackers were dead, he said, and one remained at large.

An engineer at the oil field was killed in the assault and a fire raged hours after one of the suicide bombers blew himself up, damaging two oil-storage tanks, Iraqi officials said. Output from the field has been shut down since Saturday night, but the reason for this was unclear.

Earlier in the day, another group of militants stormed the AB2 gas compressor station some 20 miles from Bai Hassan, killing four officials from state-owned North Oil Co. and lacing the site with explosives, company officials said.

The assault was the first in the immediate area surrounding the AB2 facility, located some 10 miles west of the city of Kirkuk, since the extremist group began seizing large swaths of Iraq in 2014. The site has been closed off, a security official said, as security forces and police worked to defuse seven improvised explosive devices planted by the attackers.

Iraqi forces have dealt Islamic State a series of battlefield losses since last fall, seizing cities including Ramadi and Fallujah. clear Islamic State from Mosul

Backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition fighting the group in Iraq and Syria, they have reduced the amount of Iraqi territory under the group’s control, once estimated at one-third of the country.

They have also significantly damaged Islamic State’s oil infrastructure. Earlier this month, U.S. military officials in Baghdad estimated that the group’s oil revenue had been cut to about half of its peak.

Iraq’s army is now preparing for a major planned offensive to clear Islamic State from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

As the group loses territory, it has reverted back to guerilla-style tactics, stepping up a campaign of suicide and gun attacks targeting civilians in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country.

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