Oil pipeline explosion.
KIRKUK,— An oil pipeline was blown up in the city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, said a police official, adding that the fire has not been contained as of yet.
An oil pipeline from Kirkuk’s Bai Hassan oil field was blown up after an improvised explosive device (IED) went off, Kirkuk police said.
Sarhad Qadir, Kirkuk Suburban Police Chief confirmed that “On Wednesday morning, a pipeline between the villages of Drkai Arab and Sartika in the area of Sargaran had been blown up and later caught fire.”
Qadir added that they tried to put out the fire but have been unsuccessful thus far.
“It is expected to be contained by this evening, and hopefully the fire will be extinguished,” he suggested.
According to the police chief, another IED blew up targeting a Peshmerga forces convoy around one hour after the pipeline explosion.
Casualties are unclear, he noted, and an investigation has begun.
This is not the first time oilfields have been targeted by militant groups in Kirkuk, notably Islamic State.
Kirkuk, home to a large number of oilfields, currently exports its oil to the world market through the Ceyhan port in Turkey.
The oil rich Kirkuk city in Iraq’s north is claimed by both Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish region.
The Kurds are seeking to integrate Kirkuk province into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region claiming it to be historically a Kurdish city, but Iraq’s central government opposes this.
The population is a mix of Kurds, Arabs, Christians and Turkmen.
The provincial council of Kirkuk province voted on April 4, 2017 in favour of a draft to hold a referendum to decide the fate of the province whether to join the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan or remain as part of Iraq.
The Arabs and Turkmen do not want to see the province under permanent Kurdish control.
Kurdish forces take full control of Kirkuk after the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in 2014 and the withdrawal of Iraqi army form the province and some other northern region of the state, including second-biggest city of Mosul.
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