Iraqi militants capture oil fields in North, Kurdish towns

8/3/2014

Iraqi militants capture oil fields in North, Kurdish towns

KADHIM AJRASH and KHALID AL-ANSARY

BAGHDAD (Bloomberg) -- Militants from Islamic State, a breakaway al-Qaeda group, have taken control of two oilfields and some predominantly Kurdish towns in northern Iraq following clashes, according to the Northern Oil Co.

The Ain Zala and Batma oilfields, which together have an output of 30,000 bpd, are under full control of the group, according to a statement by the state-run Northern Oil Co. late yesterday, August 2. The Sunni Islamist militants last month occupied the Qayyara oilfield north of Baghdad.

Islamic State, which was previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, has seized territory in northern and western Iraq, taking over oil wells and fighting for control of refineries.

Islamic State fighters continued their advance today, August 3, taking over the village of Wana, south of the Mosul dam, according to Hisham al-Brefkani, a member of the provincial council of Nineveh. A retreat by Kurdish fighters from the village was a tactical move to protect the Mosul dam, Al- Brefkani said by phone, denying reports that the reservoir had fallen into the hands of militants.

Islamic State fighters yesterday captured the town of Zummar, Northern Oil said. Kurdish forces have withdrawn from the town of Sinjar after clashes, Elias Khodayda, a 49 year-old resident, said by phone today.

The militants captured a number of men and “drove them to an unknown destination,” while other residents fled the area, he said.

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