Dempsey: US focusing airstrikes to protect Beiji oil refinery

ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Islamic State militants have penetrated the perimeter of the Beiji oil refinery, but the facility is not at risk of falling.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. military officer says that even though Islamic State militants are closing in on the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, American airstrikes are concentrating more on protecting the strategically important town of Beiji and the oil refinery there.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Islamic State militants have penetrated the perimeter of the Beiji oil refinery, but the facility is not at risk of falling.

Dempsey says Ramadi "is not symbolic in any way" and the U.S. would want to regain control of the city, where Islamic State militants have advanced and clashed with Iraqi troops. But he says Beiji's oil infrastructure is important for Iraq, so the U.S. is focusing a lot of airstrikes there.

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