Listen to article
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a rocket that hit a small oil refinery in northern Iraq on Sunday, causing a fire at a fuel storage tank and forcing a complete shutdown of operations after the blaze spread to a nearby pipeline network, two refinery officials said.
This is coming as US President Trump is due to leave office in less the two months. The group’s activities have been put to a check since Donald Trump took office in 2016.
Islamic State took to the group’s official channel to post a sketchy statement claiming responsibility for attacking the Siniya refinery. It said two Katyusha rockets were used in the attack. It gave no further details on any casualties.
A spokesman for the state-run Northern Refineries Co, which manages a number of Iraqi refineries, earlier told Iraq’s state news agency that two rockets had hit the Siniya refinery, causing a fire that it said had been controlled. Officials said halting operations at the Siniya refinery, which has a refining capacity of 30,000 barrels per day, was a safety measure to prevent further damage.
A chief engineer at the refinery said, while speaking on condition of anonymity said: ‘We completely shut down production units to avoid extensive damage that could result.’
An oil ministry statement said firefighters managed to put out the fire at a fuel tank and quoted Deputy Oil Minister Hamid Younis as saying that operations are expected to be resumed in ‘the next few hours after assessing the damage.’
Sunday’s attack signals that Islamic State militants are still capable of launching attacks against security forces and vital energy sites, despite being extinguished since the coming of President Donald Trump in 2016.
Reports confirmed that there were no casualties at the facility, which is near Iraq’s largest oil refinery of Baiji in the Northern Salahuddin province.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK