Iraqi forces retook the strategic northern town of Beiji on Friday after more than two weeks of fighting with the Islamic State jihadist group, Agence France-Presse quoted officials as saying.
Baiji, which had been out of government control for months, lies on the main highway to Iraq’s ISIS-controlled second city Mosul, and the town’s recapture also further isolates militants in the city of Tikrit, to the south.
Iraqi state TV also reported the “liberation of Beiji,” quoting the top army commander there, Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi.
A witness told Reuters that security forces crossed a bridge close to the refinery, 200 km north of the capital.
ISIS seized Baiji and surrounded the sprawling refinery in June during a lightning campaign through northern Iraq.
The group also controls territory in neighboring Syria and has proclaimed a caliphate straddling both countries.