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ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Baghdad gas plant

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ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Baghdad gas plant that killed seven police officers Sunday, the latest in a series of deadly assaults committed by the Sunni terror group in Iraq.

Police officials told CNN that 24 people were injured in the attack, which occurred in the Taji area of Iraq’s capital.

The assault began with a suicide car bomb attack at the entrance of the plant, according to Iraqi police. Then a second suicide bomber detonated an explosive inside the facility.

Six ISIS militants tried to storm inside after the twin bombings, but security forces were able to repel them.

Two Iraqi military helicopters were deployed from Taji military base to fight the ISIS fighters, police said.

The assault has left three gas storage tanks burning at the plant, which produces cooking gas canisters.

The attack would not affect production at the plant, Iraq’s Oil Ministry said Sunday.

Days of violence

The Sunday assault followed days of deadly attacks by ISIS on targets across the volatile country.

On Saturday, Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribal fighters killed 10 ISIS militants in Amiriyat al-Falluja in Anbar province.

Two security officers and two tribal fighters were killed and seven others were injured during the clashes, security sources said.

On Friday, three ISIS militants gunned down people in a coffee shop in Balad, a Shiite-majority city 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, killing at least 13 at the scene before blowing themselves up during a gun battle with police, killing seven officers.

On Thursday, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a police station in western Baghdad, killing three police officers and injuring 10 others, authorities said.

And on Wednesday, more than 90 people were killed in suicide bombings in one of the bloodiest days in Baghdad this year.

First a suicide car bombing in the largely Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City killed 64 people. Following that, another attack in the Shiite neighborhood of al-Kadhimiya killed 17 and a suicide car bomber struck a checkpoint manned by Shiites in the Sunni neighborhood of al-Jamia, killing 12.

‘State of emergency’ in Raqqa

Since declaring its so-called Islamic caliphate over stretches of Iraq and Syria in June 2014, the group has come under attack on multiple fronts — by Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces as well as various international actors.

They’ve since lost significant territory.

Analysts say the loss of land has prompted the terror group to change its tactics, activating sleeper cells and striking soft targets.

“ISIS has receded somewhat militarily; they don’t have a … standing army to hold territory,” political risk analyst Kirk Sowell told CNN earlier this week. “But what they’re good at unfortunately is these terrorist attacks against soft targets.

“[Wednesday] was worse than most, but in the last few months there’s been this increased focus on terrorist attacks going back to pre-2014 tactics,” he said.

On Friday, U.S. military officials revealed that ISIS had declared a state of emergency in its self-declared capital, Raqqa, apparently expecting that the city was about to come under siege.

“We know this enemy feels threatened, as they should,” Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, told reporters.

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