Iraqi government forces close to Baiji refinery: officers
BAGHDAD - Agence France Presse
Iraqi security forces take part in an intensive security deployment against ISIL militants. REUTERS PhotoIraqi government forces got within a kilometre of the country's biggest refinery on Nov. 14, the closest they have come to breaking an Islamic State siege of the facility during months of fighting, two army officers and a witness said.
Fighting raged in a village between the complex and the nearby town of Baiji, near a deserted area believed to contain roadside bombs planted by the militants that has been preventing an advance, they said.
"We are about one kilometre from the refinery. Daesh [Islamic State] militants are escaping to the direction of a river. Airplanes are targeting them," said an army captain.
A witness said security forces crossed a bridge close to the refinery, 200 km north of the capital.
The fighters of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized the city of Baiji and surrounded the sprawling refinery in June during a lightning campaign through northern Iraq.
The group also controls territory in neighbouring Syria and has proclaimed a caliphate straddling both countries.