Sunni jihadists capture most of Iraq's largest oil refinery
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AP
An archive photo of an oil refinery in the city of Beiji. Photo by AP

REUTERS - Sunni militants have taken control of most of Iraq's largest oil refinery, located in Baiji in northern Iraq, an official at the refinery said on Wednesday.

"The militants have managed to break in to the refinery. Now they are in control of the production units, administration building and four watch towers. This is 75 percent of the refinery," an official speaking from inside the refinery said.

He says clashes continue near the main control room with security forces.

The attack started at 4 A.M. (0100 GMT) from outside two of the three main entrances to the sprawling facility, sources said.

One mortar hit a spare-parts warehouse and smoke billowed from the building, the sources said.

On Tuesday, foreigners were evacuated from the refinery as security forces braced for an attack on the compound.

The refinery has been under siege since Sunni militants began a major military offense in northern Iraq last week.