TIKRIT, Iraq: Militants partially blew up a pipeline carrying Iraqi crude from the city of Kirkuk to Turkey's Mediterranean coast on Thursday, stopping the flow of oil, sources at Iraq's North Oil Company and the oil ministry told Reuters.
The attack took place in the city of Shirqat, 300 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad, near an area where Sunni Muslim militants have been battling Iraqi security forces in recent days.
More than 30 people were killed in gun battles between Iraqi troops and militants on Wednesday, a day after a raid on a Sunni Muslim protest near Kirkuk ignited the fiercest clashes since American troops left the country.
"Saboteurs attacked the strategic Kirkuk-Ceyhan export line by planting bombs in the early hours of today (Thursday), halting crude flow," an oil ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The official said exports from Ceyhan had not been affected because there was crude in storage there.
A shipping agent based near Ceyhan said he was not aware of any impact on cargo loadings.
The attack on the pipeline, which has been targeted before, comes on a third day of violent unrest ignited when troops stormed a Sunni protest camp in the town of Hawija.