Iraqi forces retake key oil refinery from IS militants

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government says its forces have driven out Islamic State group militants from a key oil refinery north of Baghdad in a wide-scale military operation.

The Joint Military Command said Friday that government troops and paramilitary forces, made up mainly of Shiite militias, retook Beiji refinery and nearby Siniya town. It did not provide additional details on the operation at the sprawling refinery. There was also no word on the fate of the nearby town of Beiji.

Beiji, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, fell to IS during its blitz across northern Iraq a year ago, but the refinery facility remained contested. The town is strategically significant as it lies on the road to IS-held Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.