Friday, December 30, 2005

Attacks Halt Production At Iraq's Largest Refinery

"BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 -- Under a mounting insurgent offensive against Iraq's gasoline supply, the country's largest fuel refinery sat idle Thursday. Gas station owners in surrounding communities in northern Iraq hung up their dry nozzles. A police chief put out a no-patrol order to his men to conserve fuel. And Nouri Ahmed Azaid put off his wedding.

In Iraq, convoys of cars draped with wreaths, their horns honking and side windows sprouting relatives with video cameras, are as much a post-wedding ritual as the honeymoon. But Azaid said, "I suspended my wedding party, because there is no fuel to drive around."

Azaid lives in Baiji, a town north of Baghdad that is home to Iraq's largest refinery and a frequent target of insurgent attacks. On Thursday, authorities confirmed that the refinery had been closed since Dec. 21 by a concerted insurgent campaign against gasoline distributors and filling stations."


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