oil refinery
The Baiji oil facility is the largest refinery in Iraq. Reuters

Iraqi government forces have driven Islamic State [IS] militants out of the Baiji oil refinery town, according to two Iraqi security officials.

The officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Iraqi state TV reported the "liberation of Baiji" and quoted the top army commander in the town, General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi.

Local reports suggest that there is still heavy fighting between the Iraqi government forces and IS militants.

The Islamist militants had been battling Baghdad's troops in the town north of the Iraqi capital since June and took control of its oil facility in order to use its resources to fund its terror campaign across the Middle East.

Despite the facility being reclaimed by Iraqi forces, the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said that it would take more than a year to repair the damage to the country's biggest oil refinery.

"After the Isis attack it will take at least a year for the Baiji refinery to be repaired," Hawrami said at an energy conference in Istanbul.

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