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Iraq: Insurgents Set Ablaze Pipelines, Gas Storage Tanks

Baghdad, 21 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Reports coming today from Iraq say fire today erupted in four oil pipelines near the city of Tikrit, north of Baghdad. Iraqi officials in Tikrit are quoted as saying that the fire was caused by explosions and was "sabotage work done by unknown assailants."

Meanwhile, Iraqi Oil Ministry officials revealed today that "unknown assailants" yesterday attacked an oil reservoir south of Baghdad with rocket-propelled grenades.

The Iraqi officials are quoted as saying that 10 million liters of gasoline were lost as a result of the attack.

Iraqis have been experiencing extreme gasoline shortages as oil production dropped as a result of attacks on refineries.

Meanwhile, the current president of Iraq's U.S.-appointed interim Governing Council, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, has arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on expanding relations between the two countries.

Al-Hakim is expected to leave for Russia after the Syrian talks.