Blasts temporarily shut down Iraq-Turkey pipeline

AFP , Thursday 5 Apr 2012

Three explosions in southeastern Turkey bring a temporary halt to Iraqi oil exports

Overnight blasts in southeastern Turkey on Thursday temporarily shut down a pipeline pumping oil from Iraq, with Kurdish rebels suspected to be behind the explosions, authorities said.

Three blasts hit the section of the pipeline running near the border city of Idil in the Sirnak province, sparking a fire, said a statement by the Sirnak regional government.

The blaze was put out around 0730 GMT, it said, adding that an operation has been launched for those responsible.

Militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, have sabotaged the pipeline several times in the past as part of its armed campaign against the Ankara government.

The pipeline has also been repeatedly attacked by Sunni Arab insurgents inside Iraq since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

The 970-kilometre (600-mile) pipeline runs from Iraq's northern oil hub of Kirkuk to the port of Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, pumping 450,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

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