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Sunni rebels claim capture of Iraq's key oil refinery at Baiji

ANI  |  London 

Sunni rebels in Iraq have claimed that they are in full control of the country's main oil refinery at Baiji, which is located north of national capital Baghdad.

The refinery had been under siege for ten days with the militant offensive being repulsed several times.

The complex supplies a third of Iraq's refined fuel and the battle has already led to petrol rationing, reports the BBC.

A spokesman for the rebels said that the Baiji refinery, which is situated in Iraq's Salahuddin province, would now be handed over to local tribes to administer.

Meanwhile, the insurgents, led by the group ISIS, have reportedly overrun most parts of northern and western Iraq, including Iraq's second-biggest city, Mosul, and are bearing down on a vital dam near Haditha. They have also captured all border crossings leading to Syria and Jordan.

The spokesman said that the advance towards Baghdad would continue.

The rebel offensive continues even as U.S, Secretary of State John Kerry has vowed to give the Maliki administration "intense and sustained support".

Kerry spoke after his meetings with Prime Minister Maliki and key Shia and Sunni figures.

First Published: Tue, June 24 2014. 09:11 IST