IS suicide bombers hit Iraqi gas plant

Media captionFootage from the scene showed a huge fireball rising above the gas plant

The Islamic State (IS) group has staged a suicide attack on a gas factory near Baghdad in which 14 people were killed and 20 wounded, Iraqi officials say.

The assault began when three car bombs exploded at the gate of the plant in Taji, north of the capital.

Six men wearing explosive belts rushed in and blew up gas tanks, before security forces won back the facility.

IS, which controls large parts of western and northern Iraq, has stepped up attacks in Baghdad recently.

It has claimed the latest incident, which began after dawn at the Taji facility, 20km (12 miles) north of Baghdad.

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Image caption

The attacks on the state-run gas plant in Taji took place early on Sunday

A fireball shot up into the air as the three gas tanks were blown up by the militants who stormed the plant.

Those killed in the blasts are reported to include workers as well as members of the security forces.

Recent IS attacks

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11 May 2016: Car bombs in Baghdad kill 93 people, including 64 in market in Shia district of Sadr City

1 May 2016: Two car bombs kill at least 33 people in southern city of Samawa

26 March 2016: Suicide attack targets football match in central city of Iskandariya, killing at least 32

6 March 2016: Fuel tanker blown up at checkpoint near central city of Hilla, killing 47

28 February 2016: Twin suicide bomb attacks hit market in Sadr City, killing 70

BBC Arab affairs analyst Sebastian Usher says that although IS has suffered recent setbacks in both Iraq and Syria, such an elaborate attack close to Baghdad underlines the threat the group still poses.

It comes four days after car bomb attacks by IS killed 93 people in Baghdad on Wednesday – the deadliest day of violence in the capital so far this year,

Meanwhile, Iraq remains in political crisis.

Divisions among political factions has prevented the formation of a new cabinet. The deadlock has raised concerns about the government’s ability to fight IS.

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