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Dhaka Tribune

Iraqi troops push back ISIL in oil-rich city

Update : 10 Nov 2014, 07:55 PM

The Iraqi army has reached the centre of the northern city of Beiji, as they continue their effort to break the siege of the ISIL on the country’s biggest oil refinery nearby.

Exclusive images obtained by Al Jazeera on Monday showed government forces pushing ahead into the rebel-controlled city, with ISIL flag covered in an Iraqi security forces slogan.

Al Jazeera’s said clashes continue and the armed rebels are fighting back.

He said the oil refinery, located about 50km from the city centre, is the next big target. ISIL fighters remain in control of parts of the facility.

The military advance is seen as a significant victory for the government, as Beiji and its nearby oil refinery were one of the first territories swept by ISIL.

On Sunday, Iraqi troops entered Beiji, a city of about 200,000 people, from the south and west and took over the al-Tamim neighbourhood and city centre.

ISIL placed bombs along roads and deployed snipers to keep government forces from advancing, tactics used in other cities held by the Sunni armed group, which controls swathes of both Iraq and Syria.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Ahmed Adb al-Joubouri, minister of state for provincial affairs, urged Iraqi men to join the fight in Beiji and elsewhere.

“If we don’t act now then ISIL will sweep us so we have to give big support to the youth to join the fight against ISIL especially in Salahhuddin province as it is considered the breaking point for ISIL’s advance towards Baghdad,” he said. 

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