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ISIS targeted on Thursday night two main electricity power lines in the Kirkuk area, leaving two cities without power, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity said on Friday.
The Islamic State militants attacked the power lines in the village of Birima in Kirkuk, completely cutting off electricity for the cities of Hawija and Tikrit, Kurdistan 24 news outlet reported, quoting the statement by the Iraqi ministry.
An engineering team has started “maintenance work to restore service lines despite the presence of military operations in the area,” said the ministry, adding that the team were able to fix one of the lines and restore electricity delivery to the city of Tikrit.
While ISIS held part of Iraq, the militants were often attacking power lines. They also sabotaged oil wells or blew up wells to create smoke to prevent the coalition fighting Islamic State from easily spotting their targets.
Another oil-related opportunity that the ISIS terrorists used was oil smuggling via trucks, which yielded millions of U.S. dollars in revenue.
According to a recent investigation by The New York Times, however, contrary to what has been assumed so far, black market oil sales were not the only and not even the largest revenue stream for ISIS. According to documents analyzed by the NYT, the Islamic State was able to hold onto vast swaths of Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2017 because it taxed almost every business and production under its rule, and was not trying to replace government agencies and employees, instead having them continue to work. Documents recovered in Syria showed that the ratio of income earned from taxes compared to proceeds from oil sales was 6:1, according to experts asked by the NYT for analysis.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State at the end of last year, but ISIS militants remain active in some parts southwest of Kirkuk.
Iraq continues to face issues with reliable electricity supply across its territory.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.