(Adds quotes from residents)
BAGHDAD, June 11 Militants from an al Qaeda
splinter group who seized Iraq's second biggest city of Mosul
this week have advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji,
setting the court house and police station on fire, security
sources said on Wednesday.
They said around 250 guards at the refinery had agreed to
withdraw to another town after the militants sent a delegation
of local tribal chiefs to persuade them to pull out.
Baiji resident Jasim al-Qaisi, said the militants also
warned local police and soldiers not to challenge them.
"Yesterday at sunset some gunmen contacted the most
prominent tribal sheikhs in Baiji via cellphone and told them:
'We are coming to die or control Baiji, so we advise you to ask
your sons in the police and army to lay down their weapons and
withdraw before (Tuesday) evening prayer'."
Militants entered Baiji later on Tuesday evening in around
60 vehicles, releasing prisoners in the town.
Baiji refinery is Iraq's biggest, supplying oil products to
most of the country's provinces. A worker there said the morning
shift had not been allowed to take over and the night shift was
The push into Baiji followed the capture on Tuesday of Mosul
by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) - an offshoot of al Qaeda - which has also seized
territory in neighbouring Syria.
(Reporting by Raheem Salman in Baghdad and Ghazwan Hassan in
Tikrit; writing by Dominic Evans and Editing by Samia Nakhoul)