The Washington Post reports: Six months after the government triumphantly announced that Islamic State militants had retreated from Iraq’s largest refinery, the extremist group is again threatening to overrun the facility.
For weeks, soldiers, police officers and Shiite militiamen have struggled to hold their ground inside the Baiji oil complex during a brutal siege by the Islamic State. The militant group’s suicide bombers have relentlessly struck the perimeters of the refinery, about 150 miles north of the capital, and pushed deep inside the massive facility.
The Baiji operation shows how the Islamic State has remained resilient even after suffering setbacks at the hands of pro-government forces and losing fighters and equipment to U.S. airstrikes, according to analysts, Iraqi officials and militiamen. On Friday, the group also pushed into the heart of Ramadi, a city further to the south that has been fending off attacks by the Islamic State for more than a year. [Continue reading…]