Iraqi oil refinery shut down after gunmen attack

BAGHDAD: Iraq's biggest oil refinery, Beiji, was shut down on Saturday after gunmen killed two employees and set on fire three of its production units, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported.

"A group of armed men have attacked the North Refinery, the largest refinery in Beiji on Saturday, killing a guard, planting five explosive charges in three of its production units, that blew off 15 minutes later, setting all the three units on fire," a source in the Oil Installations Protection Force told the agency.

The explosion also killed an engineer and seriously wounded a technician, while the huge blaze hampered the work of the refinery that produces 50,000 barrels of refined oil per day.

Iraq's Oil Minister, Abdul-Karim al-Lueby, said that the explosive attack "is part of plan aimed at undermining the Iraqi economy." He added that a high-level team from the Ministry and supporting companies has been formed to repair the damage.

Security forces imposed a curfew on the town of Beiji after the attack.

Beiji Refinery is considered the largest refinery in Iraq and the main supplier of oil products, in addition to its supply of fuel to several electric power stations.


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