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Bombers attack Basra oil pipeline
One of southern Iraq's two main oil export pipelines has been severely damaged in a bomb attack, officials said today.
The bombing of the pipeline, seven miles south of Basra, came as clashes between Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters in the port city entered a third day.
"This morning, saboteurs blew up the pipeline transporting crude from [the] Zubair 1 [oil plant] by placing bombs beneath it," an oil company official said.
"Crude exports will be greatly affected because this is one of two main pipelines transporting crude to the southern terminals. We will lose about a third of crude exported through Basra."
The official said it would take three days to repair the damage if security could be provided for workers.
Iraq exported 1.54 million barrels of crude per day from Basra in February.
Today, regular explosions could be heard in the city as security forces continued a crackdown on Shia factions including Mahdi Army fighters loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Authorities imposed curfews across southern Iraq in an attempt to halt the spread of violence.S
Yesterday, the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, gave Shia militia and other gunmen a 72-hour deadline to surrender their weapons.