Iraq’s largest oil refinery shut down by gunmen, bombs

BAGHDAD — Gunmen stormed Iraq’s largest oil refinery and bombed the facility Saturday, forcing operations to shut down at a time when Iraqis are already suffering through electricity shortages and lines at the gas pump.

The attack north of Baghdad casts doubt on the Iraqi government’s ability to protect its vital infrastructure and could shake already nervous international investors. If not fixed swiftly, the shutdown will likely further fuel anger over a lack of public services that led to violent nationwide protests last week.

“It probably couldn’t have come at a worse time for (Prime Minister) al-Maliki and his government,” said Raad Al-Kadiri, an energy analyst with the Washington-based PXE Energy.

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