General: U.S. focusing airstrikes to protect Iraq refinery

April 17, 2015 12:31 AM

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Losing the capital of Iraq's western Anbar province to advancing Islamic State forces would be a tragic but not crippling blow to Iraq's counteroffensive, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday.

A more vital battleground is to the north at Beiji, home to a major oil refinery that the Islamic State group has been targeting for months, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said at a joint news conference with Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

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