Attacks on Iraq gas facility, oil field kill five
Militants assaulted a gas facility and a nearby oil field in north Iraq on Sunday, killing five people in rare attacks inside Kurdish-controlled areas of Kirkuk province, officials said.
Gunmen travelling on motorbikes opened fire on the gas facility’s guards, then killed four of its employees and planted multiple bombs before escaping, officials from Iraq’s North Oil Company and the Kurdish peshmerga forces said. Militants also attacked the nearby Bai Hassan oil field, the largest in oil-rich Kirkuk province, killing an engineer and sparking a major fire, officials said.
A colonel in the peshmerga said that security forces killed two suicide bombers at the field while a third detonated explosives, setting oil tanks ablaze, and a fourth was still at large.
Police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader confirmed that three bombers were dead. The attack killed an engineer and wounded seven other people, according to the peshmerga colonel and a police officer of the same rank.
The jihadist-linked Amaq agency, which often carries claims of Islamic State group attacks, said that the assault on Bai Hassan had taken place, but did not attribute it to IS.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault on the gas facility, and while it may have been carried out by IS, it is more common for the group’s militants to fight to the death in such attacks. Forces from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region control part of Kirkuk, while IS also holds territory in the province.
The jihadist group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, sweeping Iraqi security forces aside, though they have since regained significant ground from IS.
After federal forces retreated, Kurdish troops gained or solidified control over a swathe of northern territory that is claimed by both Baghdad and Kurdistan. Both Baghdad’s forces are battling the jihadists.