Facing defeat in Hawija, IS torches oil wells

Multiple wellheads at the Alas field are burning as IS militants defend one of their last Iraqi strongholds from an ongoing offensive.
Facing defeat in Hawija, IS torches oil wells
Wells at the Alas field in Salahuddin province set on fire by the Islamic State group, seen from the nearby town of Tal Kussaybah, Nov. 12, 2015. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

ERBIL/KIRKUK - Militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) set fire to multiple wells at the Alas oil field Friday as Iraqi security forces progressed to the second phase of an operation to reclaim Hawija.

The scorched-earth tactics suggest IS fighters are retreating from the mountainous territory in northern Salahaddin province from which they have been able to steal oil, attack northern energy infrastructure, and wage a guerrilla war on villages in government-controlled areas for at least four years.

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