Iraqi media are reporting that ISIS militants have opened the taps of an oil pipeline in the town of Qayyarah, in northern Iraq. Crude is flowing in the streets, as images from Qayyarah show, and people are worried about what will happen if someone decides to set the crude on fire.
Iraqi News notes that this is not the first time that the ISIS militants have resorted to this response: before Qayyarah was liberated by the Iraqi army and the U.S.-led coalition forces, the terrorist group spilled crude from the local pipeline into the Tigris River, which runs through the town, causing major environmental damage.
There are still ISIS militants scattered in the area around Qayyarah, so it is possible they will do more damage if given the chance, Iraqi media warn.
Qayyarah was retaken last Wednesday, according to the Nineveh Council. In a statement, Council member Hossam El Din al Abbar said the sappers unit of the army had started dismantling improvised explosive devices set along the roads to the town by ISIS, along with booby traps in local houses. “There were 25,000 civilians inside Qayyarah during the liberation operation. The operation resulted in the death of dozens of ISIS members.”
The town of Qayyarah is a key point along the way to Mosul, the ISIS Iraqi stronghold. Restoring control over it was considered a major achievement for the Iraqi army. The successful three-day operation was helped by local residents.
AFP reports that before the retaking of the town, the Iraqi army had established control over a nearby airfield, as part of plans to turn Qayyarah into a starting point for any advance on Mosul. At the time, according to reports, ISIS militants set oil tankers on fire in an attempt to compromise the army’s visibility.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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