- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 2, 2005

BAGHDAD (Agence France-Presse) — Terrorists are waging an all-out war on Iraq’s vital oil industry, which has lost nearly $8 billion in revenue since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Oil Minister Thamer Ghadban said yesterday.

“We want to tell the Iraqi people that there is an all-out war against the country’s oil infrastructure,” Mr. Ghadban told reporters as he toured the capital’s Dura refinery, which came under mortar fire last week.

Mr. Ghadban estimated lost export revenue from sabotage at about $8 billion since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which sits on the world’s second largest known reserves of crude oil.

“Exports are now limited only to the south; there are no exports in the north,” he added. Oil exports from southern terminals in Basra are averaging 1.8 million barrels per day.

Osama bin Laden ordered his supporters to sabotage oil facilities in Iraq and the Gulf, in an audiotape attributed to the al Qaeda leader broadcast on an Islamist Web site last month.

“Take [holy war] to stop [the Americans from] getting hold of [the oil]. Concentrate your operations on the oil, in particular in Iraq and the Gulf,” said the voice on the tape.

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