Islamic State militants launched a rocket strike against an Iraqi refinery causing its shut-down, Reuters has reported, citing officials from the facility.
In a statement on the terrorist group’s official channel, IS took responsibility for the attack, which caused a fire at a fuel storage tank, which has been put under control.
“We completely shut down production units to avoid extensive damage that could result,” one of the Reuters sources said.
The Siniya refinery, located in Northern Iraq, has a daily processing capacity of 300,000 bpd. Operations at the facility were resumed several hours after the attack, according to a report by Al Jazeera.
The news suggests the Islamic State, although officially defeated in OPEC’s number-two producer, is still capable of interfering in Iraq’s oil industry. This means the industry, which is vital for Baghdad’s budget, is vulnerable despite years of fighting the terrorist group.
Earlier this month, Islamic State claimed another attack, this time on a regional tribal leader in northeastern Iraq, adding fuel to the concern that sectarian tensions in Iraq are on the rise, and so is IS activity.
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There were warnings about this after the battle for Mosul supposedly ended Islamic State’s public presence in Iraq. At the time, experts warned that militants will disperse and lie low before they resume their activity. Indeed, there has been a resurgence in attacks in different parts of the country.
The war with the Islamic State is one of the main reasons why Iraq’s oil revenues are vital for the country. It is also, indirectly, the reason why Iraq has found it difficult to comply with OPEC+ production cuts as it needs every dollar in oil revenues to keep its economy going. The country even had plans for boosting oil production in order to boost these revenues.
Recently, to avoid the spread of Islamism, Baghdad closed camps where it held people believed to be linked to the Islamic State, on the advice of experts that these camps could become breeding grounds for extremists.