Islamic State militants attack oil fields in Iraq

Islamic State militants attack oil fields in Iraq
The Islamic State group has launched fresh attacks on oil fields near the Iraqi city of Tikrit, in attempts to make gains and profit through the sales of oil.
2 min read
06 February, 2016
IS has made millions smuggling oil to finance activities after seizing major oil fields [Getty]
Islamic State group [IS] militants have launched attacks on the Ajil and Alas oil fields in the Iraqi province of Saladin, north of Baghdad, as forces and allied tribesman attempt to thwart the assault.

"The attack took place after tens of IS fighters made major advances towards the oil fields," a local official in the province said on Saturday.

"The clashes are still ongoing and military reinforcements have been deployed towards the oil fields to support forces on the ground," he added.

Following the seizure of major oil fields in Iraq and Syria in 2014, the IS militant group has made millions smuggling oil to finance its activities.

But recent losses in both countries to local ground-forces, advancing under the umbrella of US-led coalition airstrikes, have choked off significant supplies.

The militant group's latest assault was aimed at securing new oil supplies, the spokesman for the Iraq Tribe's Council in Saladin province told The New Arab.


"IS militants are continuously intensifying attacks on the oil wells in an attempt to make gains and profit through the sales of oil," Sheikh Marwan Jebara said.

Local Sunni tribesman are allying in greater numbers to fend off the IS assaults, the spokesman added.

"The tribesmen in Tikrit are allied like never before and have collected their forces to fight off IS attacks, killing dozens of extremists with the help of military airstrikes," Jebara said.

The Islamic State group still controls large areas of the Saladin province, with the provincial capital Tikrit, known as the hometown of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

The city was recaptured from the IS group in March last year in an assault led by the Popular Mobilisation Militias.

Since then, IS militants have carried out a number attacks on oil wells northeast of the city.

Iraqi officials have warned of further IS attacks in the province with the militant group still controlling a number of towns between northern Baghdad and their stronghold in Mosul.