BAGHDAD -- Sunni militants launched a dawn raid Wednesday on Iraq's largest oil refinery they have been trying to take for days but were repelled by security forces, a commander on the scene said. Government forces backed by helicopter gunships have fought for a week to defend the complex at Beiji, north of Baghdad.
The refinery is located in the heart of the Sunni-dominated areas in northern Iraq, where Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants have swallowed large swaths of land since June 10. Along with a nearby power plant, the refinery supplies Iraq with a third of its refined fuel and nearly a tenth of its electricity. Col. Ali al-Quraishi, the commander of Iraqi counterterror forces at the scene, said his men exchanged fire with insurgents when they tried to attack a nearby oil pipeline, wounding one solider.
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