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Clashes erupt in Iraqi oil city of Baiji
BAIJI, Iraq (Reuters) - Insurgents have taken to the streets of the oil centre of Baiji in northern Iraq and clashes have broken out with Iraqi security forces, according to witnesses.
The gunmen stopped cars in several streets, the witnesses said on Thursday.
Baiji is home to Iraq's biggest refinery. A pipeline network that includes the Iraq-Turkey export pipeline passes near the Sunni Muslim city.
Security officials said they were trying to beef up protection of the pipeline system after insurgents 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.
Reuters footage showed 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.
Insurgent attacks against U.S.-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.
Three other Turkish drivers have been killed near Baiji in the past week.
November 11— Another Turkish truck driver has been killed in northern Iraq after militants attacked his vehicle, spraying it with gunfire Wednesday.
The driver, whose name has not been released, was killed near the town of Baiji, 180 kilometres to the north of Baghdad. The town is a transport centre for coalition forces in Iraq and for goods shipped to the region.
The latest attack brings to four the number of Turkish drivers killed near Baiji in the past week.
To date, more than 60 Turkish nationals have been killed by insurgents in Iraq, most of them truck drivers carrying supplies for coalition forces.
Eleven dead in Iraq clash
From correspondents in Baiji, Iraq
November 11, 2004
ELEVEN people have been killed in clashes between insurgents and US and Iraqi forces in the northern Iraqi town of Baiji and a curfew imposed, a local official said today.
"There were 10 (civilians) killed, including three women, and 26 wounded, including two policemen, five children and a woman," said Dr Hussein al-Juburi at Baiji general hospital, 200km north of Baghdad.
A national guardsman was also killed and four others wounded when a roadside bomb detonated as their convoy passed close to Baiji, said national guard commander Mohammed Jassem.
Municipal council leader Hamed Hachem said overnight that "a curfew has been in effect in town since midday (8pm AEDT) and for an indefinite period, until order is re-established".
Road blocks have been set up on roads into the town and troops are patrolling the streets to enforce the curfew, he said.
Rebels began skirmishes with Iraqi national guardsmen in the town centre yesterday, following a mortar attack on national guardsmen and US troops.
Clashes overnight involving light arms and mortars wounded four people and damaged a mosque, a petrol station and a mobile telephone relay post, local police commander Mezher Mohammed said.
Police chief Ismail Mahmud al-Juburi said he thought the fighting would continue.
"I'm expecting more violence because of what's happening in Fallujah," he said, referring to a massive assault on the rebel stronghold west of Baghdad begun by US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday.