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Iran Press TV

ISIL sets Tikrit oil wells ablaze to slow Iraqi army advance

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 5, 2015 10:51PM

Members of the Takfiri ISIL militant group have set fire to a number of oil wells near Iraq's conflict-ridden northern city of Tikrit as units of government forces together with Shia volunteer forces are poised to recapture the area from the terrorists.

On Thursday, ISIL Takfiris torched Ajeel oil field, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Tikrit, to obscure targets and shield themselves against bombing raids by Iraqi military helicopter gunships.

General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, in charge of the operations to recapture Tikrit and nearby areas, told state TV that the burning oil wells "will not affect us," stressing that operations were continuing as planned.

Ajeel used to yield 25,000 barrels per day of crude oil as well as 150 million cubic feet of natural gas per day before ISIL overran the field last June. The crude was shipped to Kirkuk refinery in the northeast, and gas was pumped to the state-run Kirkuk power station.

The army's operation to liberate the city is being conducted from five directions so the Takfiris can neither escape nor strengthen their defenses through potential reinforcement.

Iraqi army soldiers, backed by Shia fighters, have advanced along the Tigris River from the north and south of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

They are trying to encircle the ISIL terrorists, but their advance has slowed down due to the roadside bombs planted by the Takfiris.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has said, "Military operations in and around Tikrit have precipitated displacement of an estimated 28,000 people to Samarra."

"Field reports indicate that additional displacements are under way and that yet more families remain stuck at checkpoints," it added.

The Takfiri ISIL terrorist group started its campaign of terror in Iraq in early June 2014. The heavily-armed militants took control of the city of Mosul before sweeping through parts of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.

The militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations, against all Iraqi communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.


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