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Oil Police clash with smugglers at oilfield near Kirkuk

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On the afternoon of 5 March, oil smugglers shot at an Oil Police patrol conducting a routine operation near Well 70 at the Jambur Oil Field, south of Kirkuk. Anecdotal reporting claimed the patrol was forced to withdraw after running out of ammunition. No casualties were reported. Unconfirmed reporting claimed an Oil Police vehicle was set on fire after being abandoned.

Oil smuggling activities are commonly noted in the Jambur Oil Field, which is facilitated by the ability of criminal groups to exploit the seams between Iraqi and Kurdish control zones. This incident closely follows the 4 March arrests of five individuals in Chamchamal accused of smuggling oil from this field to Iran. Clashes between criminal groups involved in oil smuggling and security forces are rarely noted, but far from unprecedented on a national basis. As illustrated during these events, such instances are intended to evade arrest as opposed to causing heavy casualties. Significant security responses are likely in the Jambur Oil Field following this incident.

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