BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State Sunni insurgents have captured the northern Iraqi town of Zumar and a nearby oil field after a battle with Kurdish forces who had control of the area, witnesses said on Sunday.
Islamic State, which staged a lightning advance through northern Iraq in June, has warned residents of nearby villages along the border with Syria to leave their homes, suggesting they were planning an assault, witnesses said.
The militant group, which controls large swathes of northern and western Iraq, has threatened to march on Baghdad but has stalled its campaign just north of the town of Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of Baghdad.
But it has been trying to consolidate its gains, setting its sights on strategic towns near oilfields, as well as the border with Syria so that its fighters can move easily back and forth and bring in supplies.
An official in the Northern Oil Company said Islamic State fighters had taken control of the Ain Zalah oil field and a nearby refinery. The insurgents had already seized four oil fields, which help fund their operations.
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