1 killed in attack on Iraqi refinery

Feb. 26, 2011 at 10:34 PM

BAGHDAD, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The biggest oil refinery in Iraq was shut down Saturday after an early-morning bombing by a contingent of armed men.

An engineer at the Baiji Refinery was killed in the assault, The New York Times said.

The disruption of production at the refinery, which produces 150,000 barrels of oil derivatives a day, could fuel anti-government protests in the country, the BBC said. One major grievance has been erratic fuel supplies, and the oil industry is also a major source of government revenue.

The attackers, equipped with handguns and silencers, overpowered night-shift employees at 4:30 a.m. and planted eight bombs, the Times said. The bombs started a fire.

The refinery is in a Sunni area in Salahuddin province, 100 miles north of Baghdad. Until recently, officials said much of its production was diverted into the black market, helping to fund al-Qaida in Iraq.

A pipeline bombing this month cut production at the Dora refinery in Baghdad. The country's third major refinery is in Basra in southern Iraq.

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