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Fire near southern Iraq Basra oil pipeline

Written by: Staff
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BASRA, Iraq, Aug 23 (Reuters) An anti-missile flare fired from a passing helicopter started a fire near an oil refinery outside the southern Iraqi city of Basra today, an oil company source said.

Television pictures showed black smoke pouring from what looked like an oil pipeline. Industry officials in Basra were not immediately available for comment.

A British military spokesman said separately that the fire did not appear to be serious or a risk to oil production. He added that such incidents were common at this time of year, when temperatures in Iraq can soar above 50 degree centigrade.

Basra is crucial to Iraq's oil exports, which account for the vast majority of the country's foreign earnings.

REUTERS MS RAI2146

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