Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

IRAQ: Protests continue in north; militants attack oil refinery

February 26, 2011 |  1:22 pm

Oil One day after thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in a "day of rage" to protest food and water shortages, protesters gathered in the northern regions of the country to call attention to poor basic services. Around 2,000 protesters gathered in Sulaymaniyah in Kurdish northern Iraq, while a small group of about 100 protested in Fallujah.

Hospital sources told Reuters that one person died and 11 were hurt in clashes in the north.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a Shiite cleric, urged Iraq's leaders to listen to the protesters and fight corruption, improve the economy and fix basic services. Eight years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there are still only basic services and usually only a few hours of power a day.

Also on Saturday, militants detonated bombs at Iraq's largest oil refinery, killing at least one employee. The attack at the refinery in Baiji, 112 miles north of Baghdad, occured at 4:30 a.m. and prompted a temporary closure of the refinery, one of three in Iraq. The refinery is in an area that was at one time controlled by Al Qaeda.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Workers try to extinguish a fire at the Baiji refinery after it was attacked by militants. Credit: Bassem Daham / Associated Press