BAGHDAD – An Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have returned to the outskirts of a strategic oil refinery town after being driven out last month.
Gov. Raed Ibrahim of the Salahuddin province says the militants fought their way to the edge of Beiji on Tuesday after three days of heavy clashes. He says they were able to advance because Iraqi troops lack heavy weapons.
The militants captured Beiji and besieged its refinery -- the country's largest -- during their rapid advance across Iraq last summer. Iraqi forces wrested the town back in mid-November in one of their biggest victories to date against the insurgents. The refinery is some 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of town.