BAIJI, Nov 11: Militants took to the streets of the oil centre of Baiji, in northern Iraq, on Thursday and clashes broke out with Iraqi security forces, witnesses said. The militants stopped cars in several streets, they said.

Baiji is home to Iraq's biggest refinery. A pipeline network that includes the Iraq-Turkey export pipeline passes near the city.

Security officials said they were trying to beef up protection of the pipeline system after Militantss threatened a newly formed protection force recruited from tribes in the area.

"Many have left fearing for their lives, especially those on the lines between Baiji and Kirkuk," one official said.

A pipeline that appeared to have been ripped apart by a bomb. Oil officials said it was a domestic pipeline running to the Dora refinery in Baghdad.

Militant attacks against US-backed government targets are mounting in the north, which accounts 30 percent of the country's oil output of 2.5 million barrels per day.

Iraq's northern crude exports to Turkey have been intermittent since attacks on several pipelines last week. -Reuters

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