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Wave of suicide-bombers kills dozens at Iraq gas plant

Several suicide bombers stormed the plant and clashed with the security forces [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 May, 2016

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Suicide attackers broke into a gas plant north of Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and setting fire to gas tanks, sources said.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens others wounded on Sunday when suicide bombers broke into a natural gas plant north of Baghdad, medical sources said.

The attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State militant group, started at dawn with a suicide car bomber hitting the main gate of the plant in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad.

Several suicide bombers and militants then stormed the plant and clashed with the security forces.

Some of the attackers detonated suicide belts while others were killed by bullets, according to interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan, who said explosions set fire to three gas tanks.

Firefighters managed to control and extinguish a fire caused by the explosions, while technicians are examining the damage, deputy oil minister Hamid Younes said in a statement.

According to The New Arab correspondent in Iraq, two vital power plants in Baghdad stopped operating following the attack on Sunday morning.

Though it still controls significant areas in northern and western Iraq, including the second-largest city of Mosul, IS has been steadily losing ground to the Iraqi security forces in recent months.

According to the government, IS controls only 14 percent of Iraqi territory, down from the 40 percent it held in 2014.

But the group has intensified its attacks behind the front lines, detonating car bombs in civilian areas and infiltrating sensitive sites with suicide commandos.

"Daesh (IS) is turning to targeting civilian facilities in cities after losing the battle on the front," said Colonel Mohamed al-Bidhani, of the government's "war media cell".

On Saturday, a group of IS fighters snuck into Amriyat al-Fallujah, a government-held town west of Baghdad, in a similar suicide raid that killed five people.

The group also claimed responsibility for a spate of bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday that killed close to 100 people, the bloodiest day in the Iraqi capital this year.

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