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Oil-plant defenders hang on; al-Maliki critics meet

Posted: June 20, 2014 at 4:11 a.m.

A militant stands with a captured Iraqi army Humvee at a checkpoint Thursday outside the Beiji refinery, about 155 miles north of Baghdad. The fighting at Beiji comes as Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

A militant stands with a captured Iraqi army Humvee at a checkpoint Thursday outside the Beiji refinery, about 155 miles north of Baghdad. The fighting at Beiji comes as Iraq has asked the U.S. for airstrikes targeting the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Iraqi soldiers and helicopter gunships were holding on Thursday after three days of battling Sunni militants for control of Iraq's largest oil refinery, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's fate was unclear as political leaders privately met to discuss his future, a Shiite lawmaker said.

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