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Video Shows Huge Fires Sparked by Islamic State Attack on Iraqi Gas Plant

Islamic State, which controls swathes of the Iraq's north and west, has carried out a string of bombings this week that killed around 100 people.

by VICE News
May 15 2016, 2:10pm

Shiite fighters from Saraya al-Salam, who are loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, stand guard on a road after a bomb attack against a state-run cooking gas factory in Taji, Iraq May 15, 2016. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters)

Islamic State used three car bombs to breach the perimeter of a state-run gas plant in Baghdad's northern outskirts on Sunday, killing at least 11 people.

At least six militants wearing suicide vests then stormed the compound and clashed with security forces, before some of them blew themselves up amid the gas tanks, sparking huge fires that were captured on cellphone video (below).

The attacks occurred at around 6:00am local time, and forced two power stations to which it supplied electricity to suspend production.

Islamic State said in an online statement that four fighters with machine guns had killed the guards at the plant which it said the Iraqi army was using as a headquarters.

A spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command said three of the facility's gas storages were set alight before security forces were able to bring the situation under control.

Iraq's Oil Ministry said the attack had not disrupted the plant's production of gas for cooking and electricity production.

Video via Facebook

Video via Facebook

But the Electricity Ministry said two nearby power stations had halted operations due to a cut in gas supplies from the Taji plant. It was not clear how long it would take to restore flow to the power stations, which provided 153 megawatts to the already overstretched national grid before the attack.

An employee who lives nearby said after hearing a powerful blast he saw flames and black smoke coming from inside the facility. Dozens of police and army vehicles rushed to the site where shooting lasted for about an hour, he said.

Islamic State, which controls swathes of the country's north and west, has carried out a string of bombings this week that killed around 100 people.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday the militants were taking advantage of a political crisis in the country, sparked by his attempt to overhaul its quota-based governing system, to conduct bombings in areas under nominal government control.

A US-led coalition backing the Iraqi government in its fight against Islamic State has been training army forces for months at a military base located in Taji.

Separate explosions in Baghdad's southern outskirts on Sunday left three people dead and 12 wounded, police sources said.

Reuters Contributed to this Report.