Students walk past members of Iraq's counter-terrorism force during an intensive security deployment in Baghdad's Al-Adel district October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
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Iraqi security forces said they advanced to within 2 km of the city of Baiji Wednesday in a new offensive to retake the country's biggest oil refinery, besieged since June by ISIS militants.Backed by Shiite militias and army helicopters, government forces have swept through a desert area to the west of Baiji, aiming to recapture the city 200 km north of the capital.ISIS fighters seized the city of Baiji and surrounded the sprawling refinery in June during a lightning campaign through northern Iraq.Iraqi Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga have also been battling ISIS in the north, where they have made progress backed by U.S. air strikes.The Iraqi Kurds have sent fighters to Turkey to help Kurds in Syria defend the border town of Kobani from ISIS fighters there.
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